The funeral for a transgender woman found stabbed to death at a St. Martin hotel last weekend will be Sunday at Bethel United Methodist Church in Shubuta.
The Rev. Lonnie Nichols will officiate the 11 a.m. service for Dee Whigham, a 25-year-old registered nurse who worked at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg.
Burial will follow at New Hope Cemetery in DeSoto County. There will be no visitation.
A friend found Whigham, of Shubuta, the night of July 23 stabbed to death in a room she was sharing with friends at the Best Western hotel in St. Martin. Whigham had come to South Mississippi with friends and co-workers to attend the Gulf Coast Black Rodeo in Biloxi.
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Whigham’s mother, Vickie Whigham, told the Sun Herald the casket has to be closed because of “brutal” stab wounds to the face that left her child disfigured. The family was unable to see the body because of the wounds.
Dwanya Hickerson, 20, of New Orleans, has been arrested on a charge of capital murder in the killing. Capital murder is a murder committed during the commission of another felony crime, in this case robbery.
Hotel video surveillance captured images of a man, later identified as Hickerson, walking in a hallway at the hotel at 8:35 p.m. on July 23. He was wearing a green shirt and carrying a backpack. At 8:58 p.m., another image captured Hickerson leaving, but his shirt was off and hanging around his neck.
Hickerson is being held without bond at the Jackson County jail.
He had been stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi since April, where he was studying to be a meteorologist with the U.S. Navy. The Naval Criminal Intelligence Service is conducting its own internal investigation to determine whether Hickerson will be discharged from the military as a result of the allegations.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating.
Sun Herald reporters Justin Mitchell and Robin Fitzgerald contributed to this report.