Dee Whigham, 25, has been identified as the murder victim found in a Mississippi hotel. The registered nurse sustained multiple stab wounds and was found in a hotel room shared with friends in St. Martin, MI, making her the latest transgender person on record to be murdered in the United States this year.

According to the Sun Herald, funeral services for Whigham were held this past weekend at Bethel United Methodist Church in her hometown of Shubuta, MI. Unfortunately, the ceremony was closed casket due to Whigham’s brutal injuries. Whigham was buried in New Hope Cemetery in DeSoto County.

Dwanya Hickerson, 20, was arrested on a charge of capital murder for the killing, as it is suspected that Whigham was also robbed during the altercation. Hotel security footage recorded Hickerson, a United States Navy recruit studying to become a meteorologist, walking in the hallway at 8:38 p.m on July 23rd. Another recording found him leaving at 8:58 p.m. with his shirt off.

This makes Whigham the 16th known United States transgender murder victim in 2016, exceeding 2014’s toll of 12. In 2015, 21 transgender individuals were murdered in the United States, the highest on record. If this pattern continues, 2016 will be just as deadly for trans people.

Additionally, these numbers may be higher than recorded, as police officers and medical examiners often misidentify trans murder victims’ gender. What is known is that the growing trans murder rate is certainly disheartening and tragic.

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