Local News

Virginia man says he almost died from backroom silicone injections

Posted March 24, 2017 2:33 p.m. EDT
Updated March 24, 2017 7:16 p.m. EDT

— A Virginia man said Friday that he almost died two years ago after receiving silicone injections from a North Carolina woman who was charged this week in connection with the death of a Fayetteville teen.

Kavonceya Iman Cornelius, 42, of Salisbury, is charged with second-degree murder in the Jan. 12 death of Symone Marie Jones.

The 19-year-old, who was transitioning from male to female, met with Cornelius in Salisbury to receive non-medical-grade silicone injections in her buttocks, according to police. The teen later posted on Facebook that she had shortness of breath after the injections, and police said she died from the procedure after returning home.

A 38-year-old Richmond, Va., man told WRAL News that he spent 15 days on life support after receiving a silicone injection from Cornelius in 2015 to improve his physique.

"If you don’t see any credentials, don’t do it. It’s really not worth it," said the man, who asked to be identified only as Jermaine. "Everybody wants to look like somebody they’ve seen in a magazine or whatever. You should just stick with what God gave you."

Jermaine said he heard about Cornelius from friends on Facebook. He said she had good reviews, but he never asked about her medical credentials.

"She said she worked for a plastic surgeon's office, and the plastic surgeon gives her the silicone before it expires because he can't use it," he said.

Jones' mother, Sandra O'Hara Harmon, said her daughter also thought Cornelius worked for a licensed plastic surgeon.

He first met her at a Fayetteville hotel in August 2014 and had no complications. He said he got sick after a visit with her in Salisbury two months later, but he quickly recovered and didn't attribute his condition to the silicone.

But after a January 2015 injection – again done at a Fayetteville hotel – Jermaine said he had trouble breathing as he drove back to Richmond, and he passed out when he got home.

He awoke in the hospital and said doctors told him the silicone had spread through his body, including to his lungs. He said he was hospitalized for more than a month and remains partially disabled.

"I’m on pain medicine for the rest of my life," he said, adding that the silicone "lumped up" his skin.

Jermaine said he called Fayetteville police after his illness, but a police spokesman said the department has no record of a complaint from him. He said he will again report his case to Fayetteville police and will also filed a report with Salisbury police.

"I would like to see her put away for the rest of her life so this doesn’t happen to anybody else," Jermaine said.