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Cross-Dresser Killed Two Weeks After Town Learned Her True Identity

January 2, 1994 GMT

HUMBOLDT, Neb. (AP) _ A woman who posed as a man and dated women was found shot to death with two other people two weeks after residents of this rural area learned her true identity.

Two men accused of sexually assaulting Teena Brandon were arrested for investigation of murder. But authorities refused to say if the slayings were the result of the assault charges or Brandon’s cross-dressing double life.

Friends said Brandon, 21, had posed for two months as a man named Brandon Teena and had told various stories of having an incomplete sex-change operation or of being a hermaphrodite.

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″She said she felt like a man inside but she was a female outside,″ said Michelle Lotter, a friend of Brandon’s and sister of one of the men arrested.

The bodies of Brandon, Lisa Lambert, 23, and an Iowa man whose name was not released were found Friday in a farmhouse about three miles south of Humboldt, a southeast Nebraska town of 1,000 residents.

John Lotter, 22, and Marvin Nissen, 21, both of Falls City, were arrested for investigation of murder and held in the county jail. They also have been charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting Brandon on Christmas Day, said Richardson County Attorney Douglas Merz.

Authorities had been investigating the kidnapping and assault allegations but did not issue an arrest warrant on them until after the bodies were found, Merz said Saturday.

Brandon had lived with Lambert for about three months, but their relationship was unclear, Merz said. Her friends said she moved to the area from Lincoln about three months ago and went by the name Brandon Teena.

Among the women she dated was 19-year-old Lana Tisdel of Falls City, who said she met Brandon at a party in November.

The two dated for about a week, and Tisdel said she thought she was going out with a man until Brandon was arrested about two weeks ago on alcohol and forgery charges.

After authorities referred to Brandon as a woman Tisdel said she confronted her.

″She told me that she had a sex change and it’s not all done,″ Tisdel said.

Brandon told others she was a hermaphrodite, a person with both male and female sex organs.

Karen Garrett, owner of Big Mike’s Tavern in Humboldt, said Brandon came in a few times to play pool.

In a photo taken in December, the slightly built Brandon looks like an adolescent boy, and Garrett said she demanded identification. She said Brandon produced a driver’s license with the name ″Brandon Ray Tenna.″