Friends fear body found in River Walk targeted for being trans

Police found the body of 27-year-old Kenneth McFadden in the river near Commerce Street in early April. Friends sat down with Eyewitness News reporter, Alicia Neaves.

SAN ANTONIO - Police have concluded foul play was involved in the death of a transgender woman found in the heart of the River Walk back in April.

Sunday, April 9, an employee along the River Walk flagged down a barge driver after spotting a body floating in the river near Acenar restaurant.

Police formally identified the person as 27-year-old Kenneth McFadden, who friends call "Kenne".

Friends said she was 'always a good friend, always willing to listen.'

"He would be that shoulder you needed to cry on. Everything you would expect in a friend, it was Kenne," a friend told KENS 5.

This friend who wished to remain anonymous knows Kenne from high school; They both attended Wagner High School.

"[He was] super outgoing, super charismatic, friendliest person ever, but when he needed to, he could be assertive when the time came," the friend said.

Friends said Kenne worked at a local restaurant and was known for his big personality and a love for singing.

"When we met up later after high school, it kind of came as a surprise to me that he was transitioning," the friend said. "Still, he was still the same level person."

The medical examiner ruled McFadden's death a homicide by drowning.

"If you'd given Kenne a chance, he's one of those people you would be so fortunate enough in your entire lifetime to meet. That is a friendship you would want to invest in and you'd hang on to dear life for," the friend said.

The friend hopes Kenne was not targeted because of his sexuality. "As lovable as Kenne was, I can't think of any reason somebody would want to harm someone so good," the friend said.

Sgt. Jesse Salame of the San Antonio Police Department tells us investigators gathered enough information leading them to believe McFadden was murdered and possibly pushed into the river.

Police currently have a person of interest, who they believe is an acquaintance of the victim. The man is currently incarcerated on a separate, unrelated charge.

"The River Walk is still one of the safest places in the city," said Salame.

The Human Rights Campaign reports 11 trans people have been violently killed in the U.S so far in 2017.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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