The Mercer County Coroner has identified the remains found in the Golden Run Wildlife Area as those of a missing juvenile from Sharon.

According to the release, 14-year-old Paul "Pauly" Likens, Jr was identified through forensic comparison and evaluation during the recovery efforts.

Based upon the forensic autopsy and studies performed, the cause of death was determined to be sharp force trauma to the head and was ruled homicide.

The Sharon Police Department took the report of Likens' disappearance on June 25 at 2:31 p.m. On the same day, Hermitage police responded to the Shenango River Reservoir in Clark Borough. Officers found dismembered human remains were recovered in and near the water.

Over the course of the next week, dismembered human remains were found in the area surrounding the Shenango River Reservoir. Evaluation by a forensic pathologist indicates that the victim was dismembered by a cutting instrument.


Dashawn Watkins


DaShawn Watkins, 29, was arrested in connection to Likens' murder and is being held in the Mercer County Jail without bond. He faces charges of first-degree murder, aggravated assault with attempts to cause serious bodily injury with extreme indifference, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence.


The last known in-person contact with Likens occurred on June 22 between 9 and 9:30 p.m., according to the release. According to the criminal complaint, Likens' father last spoke with the victim that night who claimed to be staying the night at a friend's house.

Likens' father and other family members did not have any contact with the victim since the early morning hours of June 23. The complaint said Likens had not done anything like this before.

A juvenile friend of Likens was interviewed on June 26. According to the complaint, she said Likens was at her home on June 22 until about 9:30 p.m. when the victim left to walk home. The friend said Likens posted a picture on Snapchat around 2:30 a.m. and made a statement alluding to being on a late-night walk to clear the mind.

The friend said she messaged back asking if Likens was ok. Likens replied once claiming to be ok and did not respond again despite her attempts. 

Information from Likens' cellular service provider, social media records and surveillance video shows that Likens walked to the area of the Budd Street Public Park and Canoe Launch and stayed there for some time on June 23 between 3 and 3:40 a.m. Data from the victim's cellular service provider indicated that Likens' cell phone had been off since approximately 3:40 a.m. on June 23.

Video from a business and home near the location showed a person matching Likens' description walking in Dock Street and then Budd Street while using a cellphone. The criminal complaint says the subject was walking slowly and pausing frequently as if they were waiting or attempting to meet up with someone. No other people were seen on foot in the area at the time.

Police say when Likens was at the canoe launch area, video surveillance from nearby locations was used to develop a suspect vehicle that traveled to Riverwalk Apartments.

Video footage from the Riverwalk Apartments depicts an individual, later identified as Watkins leaving and returning to the apartment consistent with the suspect vehicle.

According to the release, Watkins returns to the apartment complex and struggles to carry a large duffel bag. The criminal complaint says suspected blood was found along Watkins's entry route to the apartment. On June 24, Watkins left his apartment several times, carrying garbage bags and other bags.

Watkins was arrested on July 2 around 7:15 p.m. Officers say Watkins had a large cut on his hand that needed stitches and appeared to be healing.

Sharon police interviewed Watkins who allegedly told investigators that he met with a person on the Grindr app and arranged a meeting. The complaint says Watkins said he had sexual contact with the person at a location on E Broadway Avenue. When asked by police, he originally denied meeting at the Canoe Launch but later claimed his car could have pulled into the area.

Search warrants were executed on July 2 and preliminary tests found blood at multiple locations in Watkins' apartment including under the bathroom flooring.

A receipt dated June 23 was also found at the apartment showing a purchase of a saw with exchangeable blades. The saw was found at the scene with one blade missing.