Two detained in Killings of Transgender feamales in Puerto Rico

The police stated they’d classified the deaths as a dislike crime after the stays of two people had been within a severely burned car a week ago.

Each week after the bodies of two transgender people happened to be within a badly burned automobile in Puerto Rico, law enforcement mentioned Thursday that they got detained two people relating to the killings together with turned all of them to the F.B.I.

The people, Juan Carlos Pagan Bonilla, 21, and Sean Diaz de Leon, 19, were taken into guardianship on Wednesday but have not already been recharged, in accordance with Capt. Teddy Morales, the main of violent research when it comes to authorities in Humacao, on Puerto Rico’s eastern shore, where in fact the women’s remains had been available on April 22.

He mentioned the F.B.I. have taken over the way it is and was escort services in Laredo examining Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon for feasible civil rights violations.

“We is classifying it as a hate criminal activity since they are socializing making use of the sufferers, and when they revealed these people were transgender females, they chose to kill all of them,” chief Morales said on Thursday.

Law enforcement said they certainly were waiting around for autopsy leads to decide how the women have been slain. Activists need identified the ladies as Layla Pelaez, 21, and Serena Angelique Velazquez, 32, two buddies which stayed in New York City. Their unique stays are located after a person known as 911 to report a burned car under a bridge on a desolate street in Humacao, right before 5 a.m. on April 22, master Morales mentioned.

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon was basically socializing with Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez regarding night before these were killed and comprise tape-recorded on a single regarding the women’s social media marketing records, chief Morales said.

The guy mentioned law enforcement have additionally tied Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon into the killings through security camera video footage and “scientific research,” which he declined to detail. Mr. Pagan Bonilla confessed to playing the killings, and Mr. Diaz de Leon transformed himself in, the guy stated.

Limary Cruz-Rubio, a spokeswoman the F.B.I.’s San Juan area workplace, decreased to talk about the arrests but said the bureau consistently collaborates with neighborhood, condition and federal companies.

“The Bureau was and certainly will continually be interested in unlawful run which might fall within federal jurisdiction,” she mentioned. “However, our very own policy is actually we really do not confirm or refute the presence of investigations, to protect the ethics of every possible investigative work.”

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon couldn’t straight away getting reached for discuss Thursday nights, and it also wasn’t instantly clear if they had solicitors.

If men are energized, it can express a flipping part of the maneuvering of criminal activities against L.G.B.T.Q. folks in Puerto Rico, which includes a disturbing history of physical violence against homosexual and transgender men, activists said.

Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez were the third and 4th transgender folks killed in Puerto Rico in the past 2 months, activists mentioned. These were furthermore considered to be the 7th and eighth transgender or gender-nonconforming visitors to have-been killed in america this current year, according to the individual legal rights venture.

In past times 15 several months, 10 L.G.B.T.Q. men and women have started murdered in Puerto Rico, according to Pedro Julio Serrano, a gay liberties activist. Just about three of the deaths continue to be unsolved, he mentioned.

“These arrests is one step during the best path, nevertheless these murders need to be prosecuted as detest crimes,” Mr. Serrano mentioned. “We craving government entities in order to complete the research for the various other seven murders of L.G.B.T.Q. someone regarding the area and serve fairness for several of these.”

Ms. Velazquez stayed in Queens and Ms. Pelaez during the Bronx. Both got recently journeyed to Puerto Rico, and additionally they are looking to fly back into nyc afterwards this period, based on family and activists.

Luz Melendez, 29, Ms. Pelaez’s relative, stated Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon happened to be arrested after an area radio facility posted photos of those on Facebook and individuals started to name the facility to identify them.

“We become very appreciative on the perform your authorities and community devote to find who did this,” she mentioned on Thursday.

She said the photographs came from two video clips that Ms. Pelaez got submitted on her Snapchat and fb reports, which demonstrated their and Ms. Velazquez socializing with Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon.

“I saw the video clips, and it seemed like these people were hanging out together as family,” she mentioned. “It seemed regular. There seemed to be music playing from inside the back ground. Everybody Else appeared fine.”

She said the authorities got informed her family members merely that the people happened to be in national guardianship.

The killings came per month after Yampi Mendez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender guy, was slain in Moca, P.R., in line with the peoples liberties promotion.

In February, Alexa Negron Luciano, a well-known figure on Puerto Rico social media marketing who was transgender and homeless, had been shot to demise after a McDonald’s buyer complained that Ms. Negron got spied on the for the women’s place.

Ms. Negron’s final moments — presented into the headlights of an auto amid a cackle of laughter — happened to be uploaded on social media marketing, an undeniable fact that activists stated underscored the impunity homophobic assailants believe when committing such criminal activities.

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