Two Arrested in Killings of Transgender feamales in Puerto Rico

Law enforcement stated that they had categorized the fatalities being a hate criminal activity following the stays of two ladies had been present in a badly burned car week that is last.

Weekly following the systems of two transgender women had been present in a defectively burned vehicle in Puerto Rico, law enforcement stated Thursday which they had arrested two guys regarding the the killings and had turned them up to the F.B.I.

The guys, Juan Carlos Pagan Bonilla, 21, and Sean Diaz de Leon, 19, had been taken into custody on Wednesday but haven’t been charged, based on Capt. Teddy Morales, the principle of criminal investigations for the authorities in Humacao, on Puerto Rico’s coast that is eastern where in fact the women’s stays were available on April 22.

He stated the F.B.I. had bought out the outcome and had been Mr. this is certainly investigating Pagan and Mr. Diaz de Leon for feasible civil liberties violations.

“We are classifying it as being a hate criminal activity out they were transgender women, they decided to kill them,” Captain Morales said on Thursday because they were socializing with the victims, and once they found.

Law enforcement said these people were waiting around for autopsy leads to regulate how the ladies was indeed killed. Activists have actually identified the ladies as Layla Pelaez, 21, and Serena Angelique Velazquez, 32, two buddies whom lived in new york. Their keeps had been found after a person called 911 to report a burned automobile under a connection on a desolate road in Humacao, prior to 5 a.m. on April 22, Captain Morales stated.

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon have been socializing with Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez regarding the evening before they certainly were killed and had been recorded using one associated with women’s media that are social, Captain Morales stated.

He stated law enforcement had also tied up Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon escort index to your killings through protection digital camera footage and evidence that is“scientific” which he declined to detail. Mr. Pagan Bonilla confessed to taking part in the killings, and Mr. Diaz de Leon switched himself in, he stated.

Limary Cruz-Rubio, a spokeswoman when it comes to F.B.I.’s San Juan industry office, declined to go over the arrests but stated the bureau regularly collaborates with neighborhood, state and agencies that are federal.

“The Bureau is and certainly will often be enthusiastic about criminal conduct that may fall within federal jurisdiction,” she stated. “However, our policy is we usually do not verify or reject the presence of investigations, to safeguard the integrity of every feasible investigative effort.”

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon could maybe maybe perhaps not straight away be reached for touch upon night, and it was not immediately clear if they had lawyers thursday.

In the event that guys are charged, it might express a switching point in the managing of crimes against L.G.B.T.Q. individuals in Puerto Rico, which includes a history that is disturbing of against homosexual and transgender individuals, activists said.

Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez were the next and transgender that is fourth killed in Puerto Rico within the last 2 months, activists stated. These people were additionally thought to be the 7th and eighth transgender or gender-nonconforming visitors to have now been killed in the usa this present year, in line with the Human Rights Campaign.

In past times 15 months, 10 L.G.B.T.Q. men and women have been killed in Puerto Rico, based on Pedro Julio Serrano, a homosexual legal rights activist. All but three associated with the fatalities stay unsolved, he stated.

“These arrests are one step within the direction that is right however these murders need to be prosecuted as hate crimes,” Mr. Serrano stated. “We desire the federal government to complete the investigations within the other seven murders of L.G.B.T.Q. individuals regarding the area and serve justice for many of these.”

Ms. Velazquez lived in Queens and Ms. Pelaez into the Bronx. Both had recently traveled to Puerto Rico, and they had been about to travel returning to nyc later on this according to family members and activists month.

Luz Melendez, 29, Ms. Pelaez’s cousin, stated Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon had been arrested after a radio that is local posted pictures of these on Facebook and folks started to phone the place to determine them.

“We are super appreciative regarding the work that the officials additionally the community place in to locate whom did this,” she said on Thursday.

She said the pictures originated from two videos that Ms. Pelaez had published on her behalf Snapchat and Facebook reports, which revealed her and Ms. Velazquez socializing with Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon.

“I saw the videos, also it seemed she said like they were spending time together as friends. “It seemed normal. There is music playing into the back ground. Everybody seemed fine.”

The police was said by her had shared with her family members just that the males had been in federal custody.

The killings arrived 30 days after Yampi Mendez Arocho, a transgender that is 19-year-old, ended up being killed in Moca, P.R., in line with the Human Rights Campaign.

In February, Alexa Negron Luciano, a well-known figure on Puerto Rico social media marketing who had been transgender and homeless, ended up being shot to death after having a McDonald’s client reported that Ms. Negron had spied on her behalf within the women’s space.

Ms. Negron’s last moments — framed within the headlights of a vehicle amid a cackle of laughter — were published on social media marketing, a fact that activists stated underscored the impunity homophobic attackers feel when committing crimes that are such.


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