Two Arrested in Killings of Transgender feamales in Puerto Rico

The authorities stated that they had categorized the fatalities as being a hate criminal activity following the stays of two females had been present in a badly burned car week that is last.

Per week following the figures of two transgender ladies had been present in a defectively burned automobile in Puerto Rico, the authorities stated Thursday which they had arrested two males associated with the killings and had turned them up to the F.B.I.

The males, Juan Carlos Pagan Bonilla, 21, and Sean Diaz de Leon, 19, were taken into custody on Wednesday but haven’t been charged, based on Capt. Teddy Morales, the main of unlawful investigations for the authorities in Humacao, on Puerto Rico’s coast that is eastern where in fact the women’s stays were entirely 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 liberties violations.

“We are classifying it as a hate criminal activity since they had been socializing aided by the victims, and when they learned they certainly were transgender females, they made a decision to destroy them,” Captain Morales stated on Thursday.

The authorities stated these people were waiting around for autopsy leads to decide 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 keeps had been discovered after an individual called 911 to report a burned automobile under a connection for a desolate road in Humacao, right before 5 a.m. on April 22, Captain Morales stated.

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

He stated the authorities had additionally tied up Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon towards the killings through safety digital digital camera footage and evidence that is“scientific” which he declined to detail. Mr. Pagan Bonilla confessed to participating in the killings, and Mr. Diaz de Leon switched himself in, he stated.

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

“The Bureau is and certainly will often be thinking about criminal conduct that might fall within federal jurisdiction,” she stated. “However, our policy is we try not to verify or reject the presence of investigations, to guard the integrity of any feasible investigative effort.”

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon could perhaps not immediately be reached for discuss Thursday evening, plus it had not been immediately clear when they had solicitors.

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

Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez had been the next and 4th transgender individuals killed in Puerto Rico within the last few 2 months, activists stated. These were additionally considered to be the 7th and transgender that is eighth gender-nonconforming individuals to have already been killed in the usa this current year, based on the Human Rights Campaign.

Within the previous 15 months, 10 L.G.B.T.Q. folks have been killed in Puerto Rico, based on Pedro Julio Serrano, a homosexual rights activist. All but three for the fatalities remain unsolved, he stated.

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

Ms. Velazquez lived in Queens and Ms. Pelaez when you look at the Bronx. Both had recently traveled to Puerto Rico, and additionally they were about to travel returning to ny later this thirty days, in accordance with loved ones and activists.

Luz Melendez, 29, Ms. Pelaez’s relative, stated Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon had been arrested after having a radio that is local posted pictures of these on Facebook and individuals started initially to phone the section to spot them.

“We are super appreciative of this work that the officials therefore 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 the 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 clearly was music playing when you look at the back ground. Everybody else seemed fine.”

She stated the authorities had shared with her family members just that the guys had been in federal custody.

The killings arrived 30 days after Yampi Mendez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender guy, 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 networking who was simply transgender and homeless, ended up being shot to death after having a McDonald’s consumer reported that Ms. Negron had spied on the within the women’s room.

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

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