Man brutally murders 14-year-old then buys electric saw to dismember body

HERMITAGE, PA – A 29-year-old Pennsylvania man has been arrested on multiple charges, including first-degree murder, in connection with the death of a 14-year-old, whose dismembered remains were discovered near a local lake.

The suspect, DaShawn Watkins, is facing serious allegations, including aggravated assault and abuse of a corpse. The remains of Pauly A. Likens, Jr. were found on June 25 and were identified on July 3 by Mercer County Coroner John A. Libonati.

Investigative efforts by the Pennsylvania State Police, together with the Hermitage Police Department, led to Watkins’ arrest after the body was found in Shengano River Lake in Clark Borough, around 75 miles from Pittsburgh. An autopsy revealed that Likens suffered sharp force trauma to the head, which resulted in death, and that there were clear indications of dismemberment.

Additional fragments of human remains were located over the course of the following week in different areas around the lake. During this period, police utilized an underwater drone to aid in the recovery of evidence.

Likens, reportedly last seen alive on June 22 after telling a friend about walking home from an evening out, was reported missing when the teen failed to return home or contact family members—a first for Likens, according to concerned relatives who spoke with law enforcement.

Investigators pieced together Likens’ final moments using phone records and area surveillance footage, which indicated the teen’s presence at Budd Street Public Park and Canoe Launch at 3 a.m. on the night of disappearance. The footage further led authorities to Watkins, as he was spotted driving a vehicle close to where Likens was last observed and later seen carrying heavy bags from his apartment complex.

During a search of Watkins’ residence on July 2, authorities discovered bloodstains and a recently purchased electric saw with exchangeable blades; one blade was notably missing. Watkins had claimed the bags contained merely personal belongings from a vacation and also mentioned a meeting with someone via the dating app Grindr.

Likens was transgender, as shared by Likens’ mother through the LGBTQIA+ Alliance Shenango Valley. The community has come together to support the family, with a GoFundMe page set up to assist with funeral and other related expenses.

A court date is set for Watkins’ preliminary hearing on July 17 at the Mercer County Jail, where he is being held without bond.