Two Arrested in Killings of Transgender ladies in Puerto Rico

Law enforcement said that they had classified the fatalities as a hate criminal activity after the keeps of two girls comprise present in a poorly burned auto the other day.

Weekly following figures of two transgender lady happened to be found in a terribly burned automobile in Puerto Rico, law enforcement said Thursday which they got detained two boys relating to the killings along with transformed them up to the F.B.I.

The men, Juan Carlos Pagan Bonilla, 21, and Sean Diaz de Leon, 19, had been taken into custody on Wednesday but I have perhaps not started recharged, according to Capt. Teddy Morales, the principle of criminal investigations when it comes down to authorities in Humacao, on Puerto Rico’s east coastline, in which the women’s remains are available on April 22.

He mentioned the F.B.I. got absorbed the truth and is examining Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon for possible civil rights violations.

“We are classifying it a dislike criminal activity since they had been socializing utilizing the sufferers, as soon as they discovered these were transgender lady, they chose to kill them,” chief Morales said on Thursday.

The police mentioned these were looking forward to autopsy leads to figure out how the women were killed. Activists has recognized the women as Layla Pelaez, 21, and Serena Angelique Velazquez, 32, two family exactly who lived in New York City. Their keeps had been receive after you known as 911 to report a burned vehicles under a bridge on a desolate roadway in Humacao, before 5 a.m. on April 22, master Morales said.

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon was in fact socializing with Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez regarding nights before these were slain and had been taped using one of women’s social networking reports, head Morales stated.

The guy stated the authorities got also fastened Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon towards the killings through security camera video footage and “scientific evidence,” which he dropped to outline. Mr. Pagan Bonilla admitted to playing the killings, and Mr. Diaz de Leon switched themselves in, he said.

Limary Cruz-Rubio, a spokeswoman when it comes to F.B.I.’s San Juan industry office, declined to talk about the arrests but stated the agency regularly collaborates with regional, condition and national organizations.

“The agency are and certainly will be contemplating criminal run which could drop within federal jurisdiction,” she stated. “However, the rules is we do not verify or reject the presence of research, to protect the integrity of every possible investigative efforts.”

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon couldn’t immediately getting achieved for touch upon Thursday night, and it had not been right away clear should they had attorneys.

In the event that men are charged, it might represent a switching point in the management of criminal activities against L.G.B.T.Q. folks in Puerto Rico, that has a disturbing reputation of violence against gay and transgender folk, activists mentioned.

Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez had been the 3rd and last transgender someone murdered in Puerto Rico within the last 2 months, activists mentioned. They certainly were also believed to be the seventh and 8th transgender or gender-nonconforming men and women to are murdered in the us this present year, in accordance with the Human legal rights strategy.

In the past 15 several months, 10 L.G.B.T.Q. men and women have already been murdered in Puerto Rico, based on Pedro Julio Serrano, a gay rights activist. Just about three with the fatalities remain unsolved, he mentioned.

“These arrests become a step in the proper path, however these murders have to be prosecuted as hate crimes,” Mr. Serrano mentioned. “We urge the us government to complete the investigations into the other seven murders of L.G.B.T.Q. men and women on island and offer fairness for many ones.”

Ms. Velazquez lived in Queens and Ms. Pelaez when you look at the Bronx. Both got not too long ago traveled to Puerto Rico, plus they had been likely to fly to ny afterwards this thirty days, relating to family and activists.

Luz Melendez, 29, Ms. Pelaez’s relative, said Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon had been detained after a local radio station submitted imagery of these on Twitter and other people started to name the section to spot them.

“We were awesome appreciative on the efforts your authorities in addition to society input discover just who performed this,” she said on Thursday.

She stated the images came from two movies that Ms. Pelaez have posted on her behalf Snapchat and fb records, which demonstrated the lady and Ms. Velazquez interacting with Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon.

“we saw the video clips, also it appeared like they certainly were spending some time along as buddies,” she said. “It felt normal. There was clearly audio playing inside the history. Everyone seemed great.”

She stated the authorities got shared with her families just that the guys happened to be in national guardianship.

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The killings came monthly after Yampi Mendez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender people, was killed in Moca, P.R., in accordance with the individual legal rights venture.

In March, Alexa Negron Luciano, a well-known figure on Puerto Rico social media marketing who was simply transgender and homeless, was recorded to passing after a McDonald’s buyer complained that Ms. Negron have spied on her in women’s place.

Ms. Negron’s last times — presented inside the headlights of an automobile amid a cackle of fun — comprise uploaded on social networking, an undeniable fact that activists mentioned underscored the impunity homophobic assailants feeling when committing these criminal activities.