Updates in the Murders of Three Trans Women of Color

Some updates in three recent murders of three trans women, two whom were Black women and a third who was Latina, apparently of Mexican descent.

Police have identified a suspect in the brutal murder and dismemberment of Black trans woman Dominique Rem’mie Fells. They are searching for 36-year-old Akhenaton Jones, who is considered armed and dangerous. Jones will be charged with murder, possession of an instrument of crime, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse, according to a police statement.

Dominique’s funeral was Thursday, June 18 and her obituary reflects a family full of love.

In Cincinnati, another Black trans woman was murdered. Her name was Riah Milton and she was 25-years-old, Two of her three murderers are in custody, but a third is being sought.

A third suspect, 25-year-old Tyree Jeffery Cross, remained at large by Friday. The other two — 18-year-old Kaleb Marshall Tooson and a 14-year-old girl who has not been publicly identified — had been arrested and charged with murder, complicity to murder, aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence.

How does a 14 year old girl participate in a planned robbery with two grown men, much less end up murdering someone?

And thanks to Monica Roberts at TransGriot, I have a photograph of Selena Reyes Hernandez. The family’s rejection of their child’s identity was so entrenched that its proven hard for prosecutors and media to get their cooperation. At least now, her name and her face will be a permanent memory.

Three women who experienced the worst forms of violence – to be ripped from their lives by transphobic ignorance and experience further insult at the hands of law enforcement, the media, and their own families. The brutality of their murders suggests layers of internalized transphobia by their murderers that presents a level of fear for the entire community. The fact that two murderers are on the run and listed as armed and dangerous is of course also frightening.

And the brutality of a 14 year old girl and 18 year old young man participating in these (separate crimes) is another layer of trauma – the 14 year old girl actually lured a slightly older woman to her death? The 18-year-old’s contempt and repeated attempts to violate the body of Selena after she had died are disgusting. These are not crimes of passion – you don’t return to shoot a dead body, twice. You don’t butcher someone’s body and throw a part of her into the river.

How sad and immensely awful. I hope there’s comfort found that Dominique’s family celebrated her as her real self and most of Riah’s has as well (her biological family, her adoptive family misgender her) while Selena did not have that final comfort.

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