Crime

Truck sought in Dee Whigham murder case found in Harrison County

Dee Whigham
Dee Whigham

The white pickup truck sought in the capital murder probe of Dee Whigham’s killing has been found, Sheriff Mike Ezell said Monday.

The pickup truck was found in Harrison County and the owner is co-operating, he said. No other details are being released at this time, he said.

Whigham, a 25-year-old transgender woman from Shubuta, was found stabbed to death and robbed at a hotel in the St. Martin community the night of July 23.

A Navy sailor, Dwanya Hickerson, was arrested two days later. Hickerson, 20, is from New Orleans.

The Sheriff’s Office was looking for the white truck after video surveillance at a convenience store showed Hickerson get in the vehicle and leave the store.

The pickup was at the Kangaroo convenience store at Washington Avenue and Seaman Road. Hickerson was seen getting in the truck and leaving the parking lot, Ezell said. The video was filmed about 30 minutes after Whigham was found dead, he said.

Whigham traveled to attend a rodeo

Whigham had come to South Mississippi with co-workers and friends for the Gulf Coast Black Rodeo at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi. They were staying at the Best Western hotel off Interstate 10 north of Ocean Springs.

Whigham was found stabbed to death and robbed in her hotel room that Saturday night.

She was a registered nurse in Hattiesburg at Forrest General Hospital, where an official has said she was well-loved by patients and staff. She had worked there since January.

A sister has told the Sun Herald that Whigham lived as a woman but had not had sexual-reassignment surgery.

Hickerson was training at Keesler

Hickerson had been in training in forecaster school since April at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, according to a Navy spokesman.

Hickerson is held with no bond.

Investigators identified Hickerson through surveillance video on the first floor of the Best Western. One showed him walking down the hall and another showed him later walking down the hall but his arms were out of his T-shirt, which was hanging down from his neck.

The underlying charge for capital murder is robbery. Capital murder is punishable by death or life without parole.

Ezell said the investigation continues.

It’s unclear if the killing will be prosecuted as a hate crime.

District Attorney Tony Lawrence has said the Sheriff’s Office is doing a thorough investigation and he cannot speculate on what will happen when the case file is turned over to prosecutors.

The slaying was the third in Jackson County this year.

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