Man Arrested Days After Missing Trans Teen Found Dismembered Near Lake

A 29-year-old man arrested on Tuesday stands accused of killing a teen who was found dismembered near a Pennsylvania lake last week.

DaShawn Watkins, 29, was taken into custody and accused of fatally stabbing 14-year-old Pauly Likens Jr., who was last seen by a friend on the night of June 22, according to reports by NBC affiliate WFMJ. Her remains were discovered three days later near Shenango River Lake by police.

Watkins is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault, abuse of a corpse and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, according to court records reviewed by HuffPost.

Pauly Likens via GoFundMe
Pauly Likens via GoFundMe

Likens left a friend’s home at around 9:30 pm on June 22, her friend told police. She posted a photo on Snapchat at around 2:30 a.m. the following day, according to a criminal complaint cited by WFMJ and Nexstar affiliate WKBN. Immediately after, the friend messaged Likens, who responded initially but then stopped replying.

Likens’ phone last pinged about an hour later, and surveillance footage from her last known location, at a park, showed her walking slowly and pausing, as if waiting for someone, according to the outlets.

Surveillance footage also revealed a vehicle pulling up to Likens’ area and returning to an apartment complex, according to the complaint. The driver was later identified as Watkins, and video allegedly shows him struggling to carry a large duffel bag.

Police said Watkins made several trips from his apartment the following day, June 24, carrying multiple bags and garbage bags, according to the outlet. Likens was reported missing to the Sharon police department on June 25, the same day police discovered her remains.

Likens’ cause of death was sharp force trauma, according to the outlet.

Police said they found blood all over Watkins’ apartment and a receipt that showed a purchase of a saw with exchangeable blades, according to WFMJ.

During an interview with detectives, Watkins allegedly said he met someone on Grindr, but could not remember if he went to Likens last known location because his “memory was poor,” according to WKBN.

Watkins is due in court for his preliminary hearing on July 17. An attorney was not listed under his records.

Pamela Ladner, president of the LGBTQIA+ Alliance Shenango Valley, told HuffPost in an email that she was given permission from the victim’s mom to share that Likens was transgender, and that she believes her daughter’s killing was a hate crime.

Ladner said that authorities are still recovering body parts.

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