Two Arrested in Killings of Transgender Women in Puerto Rico

Two Arrested in Killings of Transgender Women in Puerto Rico

The authorities mentioned that they had classified the deaths as a dislike criminal activity following the remains of two ladies were present in a severely burned car a week ago.

Each week after the systems of two transgender females happened to be found in a severely burned car in Puerto Rico, the police stated Thursday they got detained two people in connection with the killings along with turned them up to the F.B.I.

The people, Juan Carlos Pagan Bonilla, 21, and Sean Diaz de Leon, 19, happened to be used into custody on Wednesday but have perhaps not already been charged, in accordance with Capt. Teddy Morales, the principle of violent research for your police in Humacao, on Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, the spot where the women’s remains were available on April 22.

He stated the F.B.I. have bought out your situation and is investigating Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon for feasible civil-rights violations.

“We include classifying it as a dislike crime simply because they had been socializing with all the subjects, and once they realized these people were transgender women, they made a decision to kill them,” head Morales said on Thursday.

The police stated these people were awaiting autopsy leads to determine how the ladies was in fact killed. Activists have determined the ladies as Layla Pelaez, 21, and Serena Angelique Velazquez, 32, two buddies just who stayed in new york. Their own remains happened to be discovered after people called 911 to submit a burned vehicles under a bridge on a desolate roadway in Humacao, just before 5 a.m. on April 22, master Morales mentioned.

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon were interacting with Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez on evening before they were slain and happened to be taped using one regarding the women’s social media marketing account, master Morales stated.

He said the police have in addition fastened Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon for the killings through surveillance camera footage and “scientific research,” which he decreased to detail. Mr. Pagan Bonilla confessed to taking part in the killings, and Mr. Diaz de Leon transformed himself in, he mentioned.

Limary Cruz-Rubio, a spokeswoman for the F.B.I.’s San Juan industry office, dropped to go over the arrests but mentioned the agency regularly collaborates with local, condition and federal companies.

“The Bureau try and will often be contemplating violent conduct which could drop within national legislation,” she mentioned. “However, all of our policy is we do not verify or refute the existence of investigations, to safeguard the integrity of any feasible investigative effort.”

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon would never right away be achieved for touch upon Thursday night, and it was not right away clear when they had attorneys.

In the event that men are recharged, it could portray a switching point in the management of criminal activities against L.G.B.T.Q. people in Puerto Rico, with a disturbing history of assault against gay and transgender individuals, activists mentioned.

Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez happened to be the third and fourth transgender group slain in Puerto Rico in the past two months, activists mentioned. They certainly were also thought to be the seventh and 8th transgender or gender-nonconforming people to have-been murdered in the United States this season, according to research by the Human liberties strategy.

Before 15 period, 10 L.G.B.T.Q. men and women have become killed in Puerto Rico, according to Pedro Julio Serrano, a gay legal rights activist. All but three for the fatalities stays unsolved, the guy mentioned.

“These arrests tend to be a step in right direction, however these murders have to be prosecuted as dislike criminal activities,” Mr. Serrano stated. “We need the federal government to complete the investigations inside the various other seven murders of L.G.B.T.Q. folks in the island and provide fairness for many of them.”

Ms. Velazquez lived in Queens and Ms. Pelaez in Bronx. Both have not too long ago moved to Puerto Rico, in addition they are about to fly returning to nyc later on this period, in accordance with household members and activists.

Luz Melendez, 29, Ms. Pelaez’s cousin, said Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon were detained after a regional radio section published graphics of these on Twitter and folks begun to phone the station to determine them.

“We include awesome appreciative of efforts that the officials as well as В«linkВ» the neighborhood invest to get just who did this,” she stated on Thursday.

She mentioned the images originated two video that Ms. Pelaez had published on her behalf Snapchat and myspace reports, which revealed the girl and Ms. Velazquez socializing with Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon.

“I spotted the videos, plus it appeared like they certainly were spending time with each other as company,” she stated. “It felt normal. There is musical playing inside the credentials. Everyone Else appeared fine.”

She stated law enforcement had informed her family members just that the guys are in federal guardianship.

The killings came a month after Yampi Mendez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender man, got slain in Moca, P.R., according to the person Rights promotion.

In February, Alexa Negron Luciano, a well-known figure on Puerto Rico social networking who had been transgender and homeless, got recorded to passing after a McDonald’s client complained that Ms. Negron got spied on the for the women’s area.

Ms. Negron’s best moments — presented inside the headlights of a vehicle amid a cackle of fun — comprise uploaded on social media, an undeniable fact that activists said underscored the impunity homophobic attackers feel whenever committing such criminal activities.

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