KC Johnson

KC Johnson, Bulla Brodzinski publicly provided by facebook. Graphically enhanced for artistic purposes by author.
Preferred NameKC Lee JohnsonCityWilmington
Other Names UsedStateNC
Age26Gender IdentityTranswoman
RaceWhiteDate of Death01/14/2023

Crime Category: Robbery | Weapon Used: Assault/Hammer

On January 13th, 2023, in Wilmington, NC. KC’s body was discovered by police on the banks of the Savannah River in GA. William Haven Hicks is accused of her murder. KC and William spoke on social media before they met up under unknown circumstances. William threatened her with a hammer to rob her and she was killed at some point. No other information is publicly available.

Report: 01.18.2023: “The Wilmington Police Department is currently investigating a missing person case, KC Johnson, who went missing on Friday, January 13, 2023. She was reported missing on Saturday, January 14, 2023. Johnson was last seen in the 1900 Block of Tradd Ct.

Upon further investigation, it has been determined that Johnson was killed in the 1300 block of King St, Wilmington, NC on Friday, January 13, 2023. 26-year-old William Haven Hicks of South Carolina is in custody and is charged with First Degree Murder, Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, and Kidnapping. He is currently being held at the Myrtle Beach Police Department under no bond.

KC Johnson and Hicks met recently on social media, prior to her death.”

Report: 04.04.2023: “The Wilmington Police Department in conjunction with the Chatham County Police and Georgia Bureau of Investigation have confirmed that remains found on the banks of the Savannah River on January 18th are those of KC Lee Johnson. Our condolences go out to Johnson’s family during this difficult time. The investigation continues and we are unable to make further comment at this time.”

KC’s girlfriend, Bulla Brodzinski: “On January 13, 2023, Johnson told Brodzinski she was going out. The two of them had a system for checking up on each other on late nights.

“Most of the time, she would answer me and say, ‘Hey, I’m fine. I’ll be home in a bit.’ So I guess I let my guard down and didn’t think much of it,” Brodzinski said. “Then my instincts started to go off.”

She and her friends spent the next day looking for KC — in the woods, on the highways, combing through Wilmington.

“Then the police came and told me there was no use looking anymore,” she said. “She was dead, and they had the guy in custody.”

Report: “Authorities said the two met on social media, reportedly on a dating app.”

WPD Lt. Leslie Irving: “There is no evidence at this time of a hate crime,”

Location: 1300 block of King St, Wilmington, NC

Personal Information:

Bulla: “She was a proud trans woman, a proud Southern trans woman,” she said. “I liked that about her.”

There were also the more light-hearted moments: playing Fortnite together, going out to eat, discussing the future. Johnson had made a lot of progress on her gender transition: she started hormone replacement therapy in 2020, and was considering sex reassignment surgery.

Johnson grew up in Carolina Beach. She still stayed in touch with her relatives — particularly her grandma, who Brodzinski said was one of her biggest supporters. But she also found her own chosen family among other queer and trans people: her online friends, a friend named Scottilynne Blank, and of course, Brodzinski.

“She was very kind, very sweet,” she said. “She was someone that could brighten your smile and brighten the room up.”

Murder Suspect:

William Haven Hicks

26 | White

Birthdate: 06/29/1996

Motive: Robbery

Charged: Murder

Hate Crime: No

Last Public Update: 04/05/2023

Current Status: Awaiting Trial

Arrest Record

New Hanover County, NC

Prior record:

  • Feb. 6, 2018 – charged with misdemeanor 3rd degree assault and battery
  • Feb. 7, 2018 – charged with misdemeanor 3rd degree assault and battery
    • It’s not clear if these two arrests are related to the same incident, but the charges have different case numbers, arrest numbers and arresting officers
  • Sept. 27, 2018 – charged with misdemeanor loiter-harmful purpose or effect
  • Nov. 10, 2018 – charged with felony ill treatment of animals, torture
  • Dec. 6, 2018 – charged with felony 1st degree burglary (after June 20, 1985)
  • Jan. 5, 2021 – charged with three counts of misdemeanor malicious injury to animals, personal property $2k or less
  • Jan. 13, 2021 – charged with misdemeanor trespassing / unlawful entry into enclosed places

Report: “Officials in South Carolina arrested William Haven Hicks on charges of first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and kidnapping. He is being held in the Horry County Jail without bail as a fugitive from justice.”

Citing an arrest warrant, Port City Daily said she was killed with a hammer in Wilmington, and the suspect stole her purse, ID and financial cards valued at $100.

He allegedly held her hostage, transported her without consent, and caused “serious bodily injury,” the station reported.”

Last update: 04.05.2023: “The case will go before a grand jury in the next several weeks, said Samantha Dooies, the assistant to New Hanover & Pender County District Attorney Benjamin David,”

New Hanover and Pender Counties do not currently have online databases for cases and no news reports have updated the details of this case (3/11/2024).

News Timeline: 01/18/2023 | 01/18/2023 | 01/19/2023 | 01/20/2023 | 01/21/2023 | 01/24/2023 | 01/24/2023 | 01/26/2023 | 04/04/2023 | 04/04/2023 | 04/05/2023

Baker, K. (2022, July 6). A Black Transgender Woman Was Murdered in Milwaukee 3 Weeks Ago. Her Killer Is Still at Large – Brazil Johnson. People. https://people.com/crime/black-trangender-woman-murdered-milwaukee-killer-at-large/

Hoover, S. (2023, January 18). Loved ones mourn as police identify suspect in missing woman’s death – KC Johnson. ABC6 WECT. https://www.wect.com/2023/01/18/wilmington-police-man-charged-with-murder-connection-missing-person-case/?fbclid=IwAR2teU9eBe6fCkk24kO0NhqUfLf31VqLC_JSrsAFlI-81o-7tQdYJfZIvsg

Jordan, C. (2023, January 24). Man charged in presumed death of missing Wilmington woman appears in court – KC Johnson. Wilmington Star-News Online. https://www.starnewsonline.com/story/news/crime/2023/01/24/man-charged-in-wimington-womans-presumed-death-makes-court-appearance/69837379007/

Kandel, J. (2023, April 5). Human remains found on riverbank are those of a missing transgender woman allegedly killed with hammer by man she met on dating app: Police – KC Johnson. Law and Crime. https://lawandcrime.com/crime/human-remains-found-on-riverbank-are-those-of-a-missing-transgender-woman-allegedly-killed-with-hammer-by-man-she-met-on-dating-app-police/

KC Lee Johnson Police Report – 2020-001265 – 1.14.2023. (2023, January 14). Wilmington, NC Police Department. http://p2c.wilmingtonnc.gov/viewreport.aspx?id=638457685056630640

Lhant, V. (2023, February 1). Remembering KC Johnson, Transgender Woman Killed in Wilmington, North Carolina. Human Rights Campaign. https://www.hrc.org/news/remembering-kc-johnson-transgender-woman-killed-in-wilmington-north-carolina

Mather, N. (2024, February 6). Bulla Brodzinski remembers KC Johnson, one year after her murder. WHQR Public Media. https://www.whqr.org/local/2024-02-06/bulla-brodzinski-remembers-kc-johnson-one-year-after-her-murder

Port City Daily Staff. (2023, January 26). Warrant: Hammer listed as weapon in local woman’s suspected murder – KC Johnson. PortCityDaily, Wilmington, NC. https://portcitydaily.com/local-news/2023/01/26/warrant-hammer-listed-as-weapon-in-local-womans-suspected-murder/

Reidel, S. (2023, January 20). KC Johnson, Trans Woman Who Loved Anime and Manga, Killed in North Carolina . Them. https://www.them.us/story/kc-johnson-trans-woman-killed

VIDEO: Welfare check, fraud charge in Myrtle Beach led to arrest in N.C. woman’s murder, warrant shows – KC Johnson. (2023, January 23). WMBF News. https://www.wmbfnews.com/video/2023/01/23/video-welfare-check-fraud-charge-myrtle-beach-led-arrest-nc-womans-murder-warrant-shows/

WECT Staff. (2023, January 24). Arrest warrants indicate man charged with murder of KC Johnson threatened her with a hammer. WECT News 6. https://www.wect.com/2023/01/24/man-charged-murder-kc-johnson-appear-new-hanover-co-court-today/

William Hicks – Arrests.org – KC Johnson. (2023, January 19). Arrests.Org. https://southcarolina.arrests.org/search.php?minage=&maxage=&sex=&county=&chargecode=&fname=William&lname=Hicks&startdate=&enddate=

Williams, S., & James, A. (2023, January 20). Myrtle Beach man accused of killing NC woman he met online agrees to extradition – KC Johnson. ABC15 News. https://wpde.com/news/local/man-accused-killing-wilmington-north-carolina-woman-met-online-move-case-myrtle-beach-horry-county-south-carolina-1-19-23

Wilmington, N. P. D. (2023a, January 18). FOUL PLAY SUSPECTED IN THE DISAPPEARANCE OF KC JOHNSON. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/WilmingtonPD/posts/pfbid02LimyMBTSY4zaivXBZZP4v1vieH2Dj6a5hCEuwqDKu7UKjXewBGVz2xvg4AxyBbaYl

Wilmington, N. P. D. (2023b, April 4). KC LEE JOHNSON UPDATE – Wilmington, NC Police Department Press Release. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/WilmingtonPD/posts/pfbid0Hk7fAkUpNb6xYqMZpY63jNPAgnoyGxHhCK5ep5nxiEideuoR8xdTTgxq4WsNGAWTl

WPDE ABC15. (2023, January 20).   0:18 / 5:35  • William Haven Hicks trial agrees to extradition; Killed NC woman, KC Johnson, he met online  William Haven Hicks trial agrees to extradition; Killed NC woman, KC Johnson, he met online. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBHI9ORNxDs

WWAY NEWS. (2023, January 26). Warrants for man charged in KC Johnson’s murder provides new details. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0UwwsRRSAY

Images are publicly available through public sources, personal posts, family members and information websites as well as stills from cited videos and news websites. Images are digitally enhanced for artistic purposes. All information is accurate to the best of the author’s knowledge at time of publishing. Updates will be made as needed.