Who was Pauly Likens? Missing Teen Found Dismembered After Grindr Meetup

The community of Sharon, Pennsylvania, is mourning the loss of a 14-year-old transgender girl who was allegedly dismembered by a man she met on the dating app Grindr.

Pauly Likens Jr., 14, was reported missing by her family on June 25. That same day, police responded to a call after a person reported finding dismembered human remains at the Shenango River Lake in Clark Borough.

Pauly Likens and DaShawn Watkins
Pauly Likens, 14, allegedly met up with DaShawn Watkins, 29, after they met on Grindr.

Shenango Valley Pride Picnic/Pennsylvania Police

The Mercer County Coroner later confirmed the remains were Likens’, who was determined to be dismembered by some type of cutting instrument. Her cause of death was ruled to be sharp force trauma to the head, and the manner of death is homicide.

Officials used the teen’s cellphone and social media locations, interviewed her friends, and viewed surveillance footage, which appeared to show her on the phone, waiting for someone near a canoe launch area, to determine Linkens was in that area on June 23.

The gathered evidence also linked DaShawn Watkins, 29, to the scene. He allegedly told officials that he and Likens met on the LGBTQ+ dating app Grindr and agreed to meet in person, police said in a criminal complaint filed in Mercer County.

Authorities were able to trace Watkins’ car to Riverwalk Apartments where he was reportedly seen on surveillance video, struggling to carry a large duffle bag upon his return. On June 24, Watkins could be seen making several trips out of his apartment carrying multiple bags and garbage bags. Police say positive preliminary tests for blood were discovered at multiple locations in Watkins’ apartment, including under the bathroom flooring.

Watkins has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence. He is incarcerated at the Mercer County Jail and a preliminary hearing is set for July 25 at 10 a.m.

Newsweek reached out to Grindr for comment.

Who was Pauly Linkens?

According to her online obituary, Paul A. ‘Pauly’ was born on July 6, 2009, to her parents Jennifer McClure and Paul Likens Sr.

“Pauly lit up every room she entered, always making people smile and passing around her contagious laughter,” her obituary reads. “Pauly was a selfless person never missing a chance to help others and give what she could. Even as a young child, she donated her spare change to the veterans’ stand outside Walmart.”

The teen was also described as a pet and music lover and a “sassy kid who loved to give her family a hard time, cracking jokes and loving every moment with her family.”

Newsweek has contacted McClure and Likens for comment.

A spokesperson from the Shenango Valley Pride Picnic, a local LGBTQ+ organization in Pennsylvania, told Newsweek in a statement, “Pauly was a 14-year-old transgender female who was loving, full of life, and selfless. Everyone she met was touched by her sheer existence.”

The statement continued, “She loved nature, getting her nails done, and shopping. Pauly had aspirations of being a Park Ranger like her Aunt Liz. Our entire community mourns this loss of young life along with Pauly’s family. She was taken violently, senselessly, and way too soon.”

Pauly would have celebrated her 15th birthday on July 6, according to the organization’s Facebook. Her favorite color was pink, according to another post.

A vigil in Pauly’s honor is planned for July 13 at LGBTQ+ Alliance of Shenango Valley at 7 p.m.

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