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FBI helping investigate Jacksonville transgender woman’s homicide

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 10:51 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 22, 2021 at 4:08 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Federal investigators are helping Jacksonville police investigate the homicide of a transgender woman.

The body of Jenna Franks was found near a creek off of a bike trail in Jacksonville on February 24th by city employees. Jacksonville police originally said there was no ongoing threat to the public but said then announced they are pursuing the case as a homicide investigation.

Deputy Chief Ashley Weaver confirmed that the FBI is part of the case.

Police have not said whether Franks’ death was motivated by her gender identity, but a local LGBTQ+ center director said the information he learned about her death, but not confirmed by WITN News, has frightened the community he serves.

Anyone with information on the Franks homicide is asked to call Jacksonville police at 910-938-6414 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.

MARCH 4TH STORY

Police now say a death investigation has turned into a homicide.

The body of Jenna Franks, a transgender woman from Jacksonville, was found on February 24th by a city work crew in a ditch off Ellis Boulevard.

“Information obtained over the few days have investigators treating the case as a homicide. At this time, there is no additional information that can be released due to the open investigation” said Captain Mike Capps, supervisor of the Investigative Services Division.

The body of the 34-year-old Franks was found between the bike trail and Ellis Boulevard.

At the time, police said there was nothing to suggest there was a threat to the public.

Officers even the smallest bit of information could be helpful to the case. They are asking anyone with information on the murder to call them at 910-938-6414 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.

FEBRUARY 26TH STORY

Jacksonville police say they have identified a body found Wednesday afternoon in the woods.

City crews were clearing a ditch near Ellis Boulevard and White Street when they saw a body in the woods next to a creek.

Police identified the body as that of a 34-year-old man.

Dennis Biancuzzo, executive director for the Onslow County LGBTQ Center, clarified that it is the body of Jenna Franks, a transgender woman.

Police say the body was found between the bike trail and Ellis Boulevard.

Police have not said how she died but said there’s nothing to suggest there is a threat to the public.

Anyone with information on the case should call Jacksonville police at 910-938-6414 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.

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