Dee Whigham

A Navy seaman in training has been arrested and charged with robbing and murdering Dee Whigham, 25, a transgender woman from Shubuta, Miss., who was found dead in a motel room in Ocean Springs, Miss., near Biloxi on July 23.

According to a count kept by The Advocate, Whigham is the 16th trans person to be murdered in the U.S. this year.

Whigham was found stabbed, according to the South Mississippi SunHerald based in Gulfport. She was staying at the Best Western Plus Cypress Creek hotel off Interstate 10 in Biloxi with several people after traveling to Biloxi to attend the Gulf Coast Black Rodeo at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.

Dwanya Hickerson, 20, of New Orleans, was arrested Monday morning, July 25, and charged with capital murder in Whigham’s death, according to the SunHerald. Jackson County Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Stratton said Hickerson was shown on surveillance video leaving the hotel , and investigators obtained a warrant to search the Hickerson’s residence at Keesler, where he had been in training since April.

Sheriff Mike Ezell has said his department is investigating and “If this turns out to be a hate crime, we will pursue this to the fullest in court.”

A GoFundMe page was set up to help the family pay for funeral expenses. The photo of Whigham with this post was taken from that page.