Nikki Araguz: Lawsuit Says Widow Of Heroic Wharton Firefighter Was Born A Man

Nikki Araguz was the wife of Thomas Araguz II, a captain in the Wharton Volunteer fire deprartment who died earlier this monthfighting a blaze at a historic site.

Nikki is now being sued by Thomas' mother and ex-wife, who claim he never knew that Nikki had been born a man.

Lawsuits in Wharton County claim that Nikki was born Justin Graham Purdue in California, and changed her name in 1996 as part of a sex-change process.

The El Campo Leader-News and Wharton Journal-Spectator broke the story.

The mother and ex-wife, with whom Nikki apparently had a tempestuous relationship, are seeking to stop the disbursement of any benefits following the death.

Thomas Araguz had been married to Heather Delgado and had two children with her before they divorced in 2008. He married Nikki Araguz later that year. Nikki ran a magazine and ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Wharton while married to Thomas.

According to the newspapers:

The suit says Nikki Araguz legally changed her name Feb. 9, 1996 from Justin Graham Purdue to Nikki Paige Purdue.

The suit includes a copy of the name-change request with the statement, "I, Justin Purdue, am a woman with male anatomy, working toward a sex change. I have been living and working as a woman for over one year and seek to make my new name legal and permanent" included in the filing.

The suit says Texas "courts have held that someone who undergoes a sex change procedure remains as a matter of law, the same sex they were born as."

A hearing is set for Friday.

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