Black trans woman, Dominique Rem’mie Fells, found dead on banks of Schuylkill River

Photo by Amanda Swiger of Swiger Photography

“One more precious Black trans woman’s life has been violently taken,” said trans woman and community organizer, Deja Lynn Alvarez. Just before 7 p.m. on Monday, June 9, the body of 27-year-old Black trans woman Dominique Rem’mie Fells was discovered on the banks of the river on the 3500 block of Schuylkill Ave, near Bartram’s Garden. Fells’ was originally misgendered by 6ABC and PhillyVoice. But, sources from the Morris Home — a recovery residence for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals — realized that the victim was resident Fells, a trans woman. 

Though the medical examiner has yet to release autopsy results or an official cause of death, Chief Inspector Scott Small with the Philadelphia Police Department via 6ABC reported that the state of Fells’ body indicates that she sustained injuries to the head and face. She was also found with both legs severed in a manner that might suggest they were run over by a train. Her legs were not recovered at the scene or elsewhere. The manner of death has been officially ruled a homicide, Staff Inspector Sekou Kinebrew told PGN. 

“Fells was an absolutely beautiful woman,” said Alvarez in a Facebook post, “She was stolen from us. Her life mattered. She, and the hundreds of other trans people taken from us over the years, will never be forgotten. Please join us in remembrance of our sister, demanding justice for her and her family, and embracing love and acceptance for those of us who live in constant worry  we could be next. We cannot let hate win.”

The City’s Office of LGBT Affairs, which is headed by Black trans woman Celena Morrison, released a statement on Fells’ death: “As thousands take to the streets to proclaim that Black Lives Matter, it is critical we remember that this includes Black trans lives. Dominique Rem’mie Fells’ life mattered. We are reminded with this, and countless other painful losses — especially within our transgender communities — that there is much left to do until we achieve full equality, respect, and support for us all. The murder of transgender people — especially those of color — is truly an epidemic and a crisis that we cannot afford to allow to persist any further. Let us uplift her memory together.”

The Office of LGBT Affairs is currently organizing a virtual grieving session for community members. Details to be announced via the office’s Facebook page. 

PGN will continue to update this story as it develops. 

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