Two Arrested in Killings of Transgender ladies in Puerto Rico

Law enforcement stated that they had categorized the fatalities being a hate criminal activity following the remains of two females had been found in a badly burned car a week ago.

Weekly following the figures of two transgender females had been present in a badly burned automobile 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 main of unlawful investigations for law enforcement in Humacao, on Puerto Rico’s eastern shore, in which the women’s stays were available on April 22.

He stated the F.B.I. had bought out the way it is and had been investigating Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon for feasible civil rights violations.

“We are classifying it as being a hate criminal activity since they had been socializing with all the victims, as soon as they found out they certainly were transgender ladies, they chose to destroy them,” Captain Morales stated on Thursday.

Law enforcement stated these people were waiting around for autopsy leads to regulate how the ladies was indeed killed. Activists have actually identified the women as Layla Pelaez, 21, and Serena Angelique Velazquez, 32, two buddies whom lived in new york. Their stays were discovered after an individual called 911 to report a burned vehicle 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 was indeed socializing with Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez in the evening before they certainly were killed and had been recorded using one associated with women’s media that are social, Captain Morales said.

He stated the authorities had also tied up Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon towards the killings through safety digital digital digital camera footage and “scientific proof,” 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 field workplace, declined to go over the arrests but said the bureau regularly collaborates with neighborhood, state and agencies that are federal.

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

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

In the event that guys are charged, it may express a switching part of the control of crimes against L.G.B.T.Q. individuals in Puerto Rico, that has a history that is disturbing of against homosexual and transgender individuals, activists said.

Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez had been the 3rd and transgender that is fourth killed in Puerto Rico within the last few 8 weeks, activists stated. These people were additionally considered to be the 7th and transgender that is eighth gender-nonconforming individuals to were killed in the usa this current 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, in accordance with Pedro Julio Serrano, a rights that are gay. All but three associated with fatalities stay unsolved, he stated.

“These arrests are one step when you look at the direction that is right but these murders need to be prosecuted as hate crimes,” Mr. Serrano stated. “We desire the federal government in order to complete the investigations within the other seven murders of L.G.B.T.Q. people in the area and provide justice for several of these.”

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

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

“We are super appreciative for the work that the officials and also the community place in to locate who did this,” she said on Thursday.

She stated the pictures originated from two videos that Ms. Pelaez had published on her behalf facebook and snapchat records, which revealed her and Ms Regina sugar daddy needed. Velazquez socializing with Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon.

“I saw the videos, also it seemed like these were hanging out together as friends,” she said. “It seemed normal. There is music playing when you look at the back ground. Everybody else seemed fine.”

The police was said by her had shared with her household just that the guys were in federal custody.

The killings arrived 30 days after Yampi Mendez Arocho, a transgender that is 19-year-old, had been killed in Moca, P.R., based on the Human Rights Campaign.

A well-known figure on Puerto Rico social media who was transgender and homeless, was shot to death after a McDonald’s customer complained that Ms. Negron had spied on her in the women’s room in February, Alexa Negron Luciano.

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

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