Suspect charged in death of 17-year-old trans teen

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A suspect has been charged with murder following the death of a 17-year-old transgender teenager.

Josh Brandon Vallum, 28, was arrested and charged after Mercedes Williamson was found dead on 2 June.

Vallum is being held on a $1 million bail.

According to BuzzFeed News, police are still searching for a motive, and have been “getting conflicting reports”.

It is unclear whether Vallum knew about Williamson’s transgender status, and when the killing took place.

An incident report by the sheriff’s office reads that Vallum told his father he had “killed someone and the body was in the field”, which is located behind the father’s house.

After checking the area, police found a partially decomposed body. A memorial page for the teenager says she was stabbed.

It is unclear whether Williamson’s gender identity played a role in her killing. Mississippi hate crime law does not apply to gender identity.