A Balloon Release to Honor a Local Educator who was killed in her home

HATTIESBURG, MISS. – Wednesday morning, friends and family came together at a local college to pay tribute and honor the memory of an educator who was killed in her home over the weekend leaving friends and family wondering why someone would murder her.

Hattiesburg police found Deborah McGee’s body Sunday approximately around 2:45 p.m. in the 1200 block of Dewey Street. After three days of conducting a death investigation, Tuesday evening, police determined McGee did not die of natural causes.

“That investigation and autopsy was conducted today [Tuesday afternoon], and that investigation has now turned into a homicide investigation,” Cpt. Branden McLemore of the Hattiesburg Police Department said.

Resulting in the second homicide in Hattiesburg this year.

Wednesday morning, members of the community honored McGee with a balloon release at her job outside in the parking lot of Antonelli College where she taught classes.

“We all just wanted to make sure that the community knew how she meant to use, and how much we love her,” Lauren James, an instructor at Antonelli College said.

“If ever there was a teacher to push somebody to succeed... She would definitely push you completely out of your comfort zone just to see you succeed,” Antonelli College student, Kayla Greene said.

McGee’s death brings the school a variety of emotions.

“Anger, initially it was just the shock of it,” James said. “Sadness, loneliness, we feel empty without her around here. There's a hole here without her here.”

“Of all the people that I can think this would happen to, she would be the last on the list,” Antonelli College President, Steve Bryant said. “Why anybody would do be so cruel?”

“It was just me and her had a bond like no other,” Antonelli student, Courtney Walley said. “The last thing that I said to her last Thursday was ‘alright Baby-D, I’ll see you Tuesday,’ and she was like ‘alright have a safe weekend,’ and ‘I said you to too.’”

Hattiesburg police are still working out the details in McGee’s case and say they will release in-depth details about happened as soon the information becomes available. The college also said they will rededicate one of their labs in McGee’s name, and they also plan to honor her at graduation.

Hattiesburg police urge anyone with information about the murder to come forward.

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