Transgender Woman's Dismembered Remains Pulled from River in Philadelphia, Death Ruled Homicide

Advocates are calling for violence against the transgender community to stop after the body of Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells, 27, was found Monday

Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells
Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells. Photo: Facebook

Police are investigating the disturbing murder of a transgender woman whose dismembered body was found in the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, say police.

The brutalized body of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, 27, was found floating in the river near Bartram’s Garden in West Philadelphia last Monday just before 7 p.m., say police, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Her legs had been cut off and she had been beaten, with bruising found on her face and head, local station NBC10 reports.

Dive teams found her legs in bags close to the area where her remains were found, NBC10 reports.

She died of multiple stab wounds.

Her death has been ruled a homicide, a spokesperson for the city Medical Examiner’s Office said.

She was not identified until Thursday, local station CBS reports.

"Our family is in mourning and in utter disbelief that something like this could happen to one of our own," Fells' family wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to help defray her funeral expenses.

"Dominique, who often went by the name Rem'mie, was truly one of a kind," her family wrote. "We can assure all of you that we will not stop until her killers are found and justice is served accordingly."

A freelance fashion designer, Fells was known for the fashion show she organized in 2019 called “Rock the Runway -- A Trans Empowerment Fashion Show,” her friend Madelyn Morrison told The Inquirer.

Morrison remembers Fells for always “having fun and being vibrant,” she told The Inquirer.

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As police investigate, advocates are calling for an end to violence against the transgender community.

Earlier in the week, another black transgender woman, Riah Milton, 25, was killed in Liberty Township, Ohio, The Inquirer reports.

"To my LGBQ and especially Trans communities there is horrible news here in Philadelphia again," advocate Deja Lynn Alvarez wrote on Facebook.

"On Tuesday a dismembered body was pulled from the river trauma to the face and head, legs severed mid thigh. Authorities spent the next couple of days trying to positively ID the victim. Information was not released immediately in order to notify the family and loved ones. It has been ruled a murder and is being rigorously investigated. The victim is a black transwoman Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells.

"Community we need to come together and keep our focus on yet another black transwoman murdered."

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney also decried the woman's death on Twitter, writing, "When we say #BlackLivesMatter, that includes Black trans lives. I join our LGBTQ and Black communities in mourning the loss of Dominique Rem’mie Fells. #SayHerName.”

The Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs said in a statement, "We were devastated to learn of the murder of Dominique Rem’mie Fells earlier this week.

“As thousands take to the streets to proclaim that #BlackLivesMatter, it's critical we remember that this includes Black trans lives.”

The GoFundMe account has raised more than $116,000.

Anyone with information about Fells’ death is asked to call the police tip line at 215-686-TIPS or the city’s Office of LGBT Affairs. As with any homicide, there is a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

The Philadelphia Police Department did not immediately return PEOPLE's calls for comment.

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