Barry Saunders

Transgender teen should be remembered for more than just the way she died – Saunders

Symone Marie Jones
Symone Marie Jones

A fake doctor botched the surgery that was supposed to bestow upon Symone Marie Jones the callypigian contours currently in vogue and in Vogue.

Her January death in Fayetteville was a sensational story, appealing to our prurient nature. It was the kind of story that makes you call up friends and go “Man, did you read that story?”

Such a reaction, while understandable, does a disservice to the life of any person.

Equally understandable is the response of Sandra O’Hara Harmon, Symone’s mother. She wants her daughter remembered as more than just someone who was transgender and who died while trying to transition from a boy born Eugene to a girl named Symone.

I didn’t even know Symone and I want her to be remembered for more than just that.

Who among us wants to be remembered solely for the way we died?

“She was,” her mother said, “a very sweet, kind person. She loved people and people loved her. She was attending Fayetteville Tech” and planned to enter the medical field, Harmon said, “but I wanted her to be a lawyer.”

In Jones’ death, Kyvonceya Cornelius – also known as Kenneth Rudolph Cornelius –was charged with second-degree murder for injecting into Jones non-medical-grade silicone that was meant to give Jones the derriere she desired. Police began investigating her in February when a woman reported becoming gravely ill after receiving injections from her.

Cornelius, of Salisbury, is currently being held in the Rowan County Detention Center. I was unable to determine if she has an attorney.

Harmon said her daughter and she were both under the impression that Symone was dealing with a reputable medical entity.

“They linked up through the transgender community. She told me it was a medical center. She even showed me the paperwork, which I gave to the detectives,” Harmon said.

Speaking of paperwork, Harmon proudly told me about – and then sent me a copy of – a June 2016 letter on the stationery of state Rep. Wesley Meredith of Cumberland County congratulating Symone – then known as Eugene – “for a job well done” at Cape Fear High School.

“Please accept this letter as a symbol of my gratitude for your important role in raising the scholastic bar in Cumberland County,” the letter said. “I wish you success in all your future endeavors. Keep up the good work.”

That’s a far better way for someone to be remembered, don’t you think?

Barry Saunders: 919-836-2811, @BarrySaunders9