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Two Arrested in Killings of Transgender Women in Puerto Rico

Two Arrested in Killings of Transgender Women in Puerto Rico

The police said they’d labeled the fatalities as a detest crime following the stays of two female had been found in a poorly burned vehicles a week ago.

Each week following the bodies of two transgender lady had been present a terribly burned car in Puerto Rico, the authorities said Thursday they had arrested two people relating to the killings together with turned them over to the F.B.I.

The males, Juan Carlos Pagan Bonilla, 21, and Sean Diaz de Leon, 19, comprise used into custody on Wednesday but I have not already been recharged, relating to Capt. Teddy Morales, the chief of violent investigations for the police in Humacao, on Puerto Rico’s east shore, where the women’s stays are found on April 22.

He stated the F.B.I. had absorbed the fact and was investigating Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon for feasible civil-rights violations.

“We become classifying it as a hate crime simply because they are interacting with all the victims, and once they learned they certainly were transgender lady, they made a decision to eliminate all of them,” Captain Morales stated on Thursday.

The police stated they certainly were looking forward to autopsy results to decide how the ladies was indeed slain. Activists have actually identified the ladies as Layla Pelaez, 21, and Serena Angelique Velazquez, 32, two family exactly who stayed in new york. Their particular keeps comprise found after an individual labeled as 911 to report a burned automobile under a bridge on a desolate roadway in Humacao, before 5 a.m. on April 22, chief Morales said.

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon was basically interacting with Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez in the evening before these were murdered and were recorded using one of the women’s social networking records, Captain Morales stated.

The guy said the authorities have additionally fastened Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon into the killings through security camera video footage and “scientific proof,” which he declined to detail. Mr. Pagan Bonilla confessed to participating in the killings, and Mr. Diaz de Leon turned themselves in, the guy mentioned.

Limary Cruz-Rubio, a spokeswoman when it comes to F.B.I.’s San Juan field company, dropped to go over the arrests but said the bureau consistently collaborates with neighborhood, condition and federal companies.

“The agency was and certainly will often be interested in violent conduct that may fall within national jurisdiction,” she said. “However, our very own plan is actually we really do not verify or refute the presence of investigations, to safeguard the integrity of any possible investigative efforts.”

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon cannot right away end up being achieved for touch upon Thursday night, and it also wasn’t straight away obvious if they had attorneys.

In the event the men are billed, it might signify a flipping reason for the maneuvering of criminal activities against L.G.B.T.Q. people in Puerto Rico, which has a disturbing reputation for violence against gay and transgender visitors, activists mentioned.

Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez comprise the third and next transgender someone killed in Puerto Rico within the last two months, activists mentioned. These people were additionally considered the 7th and 8th transgender or gender-nonconforming men and women to currently killed in america this year, in accordance with the people legal rights promotion.

Prior to now 15 several months, 10 L.G.B.T.Q. folks have been killed in Puerto Rico, in accordance with Pedro Julio Serrano, a gay rights activist. Just about three with the fatalities remain unresolved, he stated.

“These arrests is a step for the best direction, nevertheless these murders have to be prosecuted as hate crimes,” Mr. Serrano said. “We need the us government to finish the investigations within the more seven murders of L.G.B.T.Q. everyone about island and serve fairness for many of them.”

Ms. Velazquez lived-in Queens and Ms. Pelaez within the Bronx. Both have not too long ago moved to Puerto Rico, and additionally they had been about to fly returning to New York later on this month, in accordance with family unit members and activists.

Luz Melendez, 29, Ms. Pelaez’s relative, mentioned Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon had been detained after a local broadcast station submitted pictures of them on fb and other people started initially to name the facility to recognize all of them.

“We were extremely appreciative regarding the services the officials while the area input to obtain just who did this,” she said on Thursday.

She mentioned the images originated from two videos that Ms. Pelaez had submitted on the Snapchat and Facebook profile, which confirmed this lady and Ms. Velazquez interacting with Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz adam4adam app iphone de Leon.

“we watched the movies, and it also seemed like they were spending time collectively as buddies,” she mentioned. “It felt typical. There clearly was songs playing for the credentials. Everyone seemed great.”

She mentioned the police had informed her families merely your boys happened to be in national guardianship.

The killings arrived 30 days after Yampi Mendez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender people, is slain in Moca, P.R., in accordance with the Human liberties strategy.

In February, Alexa Negron Luciano, a famous figure on Puerto Rico social media marketing who was simply transgender and homeless, was actually shot to demise after a McDonald’s customer complained that Ms. Negron have spied on the when you look at the women’s space.

Ms. Negron’s last moments — presented inside headlights of a car amid a cackle of fun — had been published on social media, a fact that activists mentioned underscored the impunity homophobic attackers believe whenever committing such criminal activities.

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