Pennsylvania man accused of murdering, dismembering transgender teen


A Pennsylvania man is behind bars after he allegedly lured a transgender teen into the woods and dismembered the victim last month after meeting on an online dating app.

DaShawn Watkins, 29, is charged in the death of 14-year-old Pauly Likens, who was last seen on June 22 and reported missing by a family member on June 25, according to a criminal complaint filed with the Mercer Police Department.

The document stated that Likens’ father, who referred to Pauly as his son, contacted police to report that his child was missing after no one had heard from the teen since the early morning hours of June 23. 

Likens was allegedly going to stay the night with an unknown friend, the complaint said.

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DaShawn Watkins

Dashawn Dale Depree Watkins, 29, of Sharon, Pennsylvania is in the Mercer County Prison in connection with the brutal dismembering of 14-year-old Pauly Likens. (Mercer County Prison )

The Hermitage Police Department responded on June 25 to a report of dismembered human remains recovered at Shenango River Lake in Clark Borough, Pennsylvania. After compiling the teen’s cellphone location, interviewing friends and viewing surveillance footage, it was determined that Likens was in that area on June 23.

The Mercer County coroner later confirmed the “various dismembered human remains” that police discovered over the next week belonged to Likens.

A forensic pathologist determined that the teen was dismembered by “some type of cutting instrument.”

The 14-year-old’s cause of death was revealed to be sharp force trauma to the head, according to the document, and the manner of death was ruled a homicide.

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Surveillance footage, social media records and cellphone records linked Watkins to the scene of the horrific murder, according to the criminal complaint. He has been charged with murder, aggravated assault, evidence tampering and abuse of a corpse.

The 29-year-old allegedly told authorities that he met Likens on popular LGBTQ dating app, Grindr, and the two agreed to meet up.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro expressed support for the Likens family on Tuesday and advocated for state laws “to treat hate-based crimes against LGBTQ+ folks the same way other hate crimes are treated.”

Pennsylvania-Budget

Gov. Josh Shapiro, D-Penn., offered support for the family of 14-year-old Pauly Likens in an X post on Tuesday after the teen’s death and dismemberment was confirmed. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“The First Lady and I are thinking of Pauly Likens’ friends, family, and our entire LGBTQ+ community right now,” he wrote in a X post on Tuesday.

“Pennsylvania State Police’s investigation is ongoing, and her horrific murder must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he wrote. “It’s past time to strengthen Pennsylvania’s laws to treat hate-based crimes against LGBTQ+ folks the same way other hate crimes are treated.”

Authorities have not confirmed if the homicide was a hate crime.

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Watkins is expected to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on July 25. 

Fox News Digital has reached out to Gov. Josh Shapiro’s office and the Pennsylvania State Police for comment.





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