Two detained in Killings of Transgender feamales in Puerto Rico

The police said they’d classified the fatalities as a detest crime following the keeps of two ladies are within a badly burned auto last week.

Each week following systems of two transgender girls had been present a poorly burned auto in Puerto Rico, law enforcement mentioned Thursday which they have arrested two men in connection with the killings along with turned them up to the F.B.I.

The boys, Juan Carlos Pagan Bonilla, 21, and Sean Diaz de Leon, 19, were used into guardianship on Wednesday but have not come billed, per Capt. Teddy Morales, the chief of criminal research when it comes down to police in Humacao, on Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, where in actuality the women’s stays comprise available on April 22.

The guy stated the F.B.I. got taken over the situation and was examining Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon for feasible civil rights violations.

“We become classifying it as a hate crime because they are socializing aided by the victims, as soon as they discovered these were transgender females, they made a decision to kill them,” Captain Morales mentioned on Thursday.

The authorities mentioned they certainly were awaiting autopsy results to regulate how the women was indeed murdered. Activists posses recognized the women as Layla Pelaez, 21, and Serena Angelique Velazquez, 32, two buddies just who lived-in New York City. Their unique keeps were discover after people labeled as 911 to report a burned vehicles under a bridge on a desolate street in Humacao, right before 5 a.m. on April 22, Captain Morales mentioned.

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon have been interacting with Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez regarding the night before they certainly were killed and happened to be recorded on one associated with the women’s social media account, master Morales said.

He mentioned the authorities have furthermore tied up Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon towards killings through surveillance camera video footage and “scientific evidence,” that he decreased to detail. Mr. Pagan Bonilla confessed to taking part in the killings, and Mr. Diaz de Leon turned themselves in, the guy stated.

Limary Cruz-Rubio, a spokeswoman for the F.B.I.’s San Juan industry workplace, decreased to discuss the arrests but stated the bureau consistently collaborates with neighborhood, state and national firms.

“The Bureau is and can continually be interested in violent run which may fall within federal legislation,” she mentioned. “However, our plan is we really do not verify or reject the existence of investigations, to safeguard the integrity of any feasible investigative work.”

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon would never straight away become achieved for comment on Thursday nights, therefore was not instantly obvious as long as they got attorneys.

When the men are recharged, it may represent a switching reason for the maneuvering of criminal activities against L.G.B.T.Q. folks in Puerto Rico, that has a disturbing history of assault against gay and transgender folk, activists said.

Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez are the third and next transgender everyone killed in Puerto Rico in the last two months, activists mentioned. These people were also considered to be the 7th and 8th transgender or gender-nonconforming men and women to currently killed in the usa this year, according to the peoples Rights promotion.

In the past 15 period, 10 L.G.B.T.Q. men and women have started killed in Puerto Rico, relating to Pedro Julio Serrano, a gay rights activist. All but three of this fatalities remain unsolved, the guy stated.

“These arrests are one step inside the right direction, however these murders have to be prosecuted as dislike criminal activities,” Mr. Serrano said. “We urge the us government to finish the investigations from inside the different seven murders of L.G.B.T.Q. folk about area and offer justice for several of those.”

Ms. Velazquez stayed in Queens and Ms. Pelaez when you look at the Bronx. Both had not too long ago journeyed to Puerto Rico, in addition they happened to be about to travel back again to ny later this thirty days, relating to family relations and activists.

Luz Melendez, 29, Ms. Pelaez’s relative, mentioned Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon are arrested after a regional broadcast place submitted artwork of them on myspace and individuals started initially to call the station to identify them.

“We are awesome appreciative regarding the operate your authorities additionally the society input locate just who performed this,” she mentioned on Thursday.

She said the images originated two clips that Ms. Pelaez had posted on her Snapchat and Twitter accounts, which demonstrated her and Ms. Velazquez interacting with Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon.

“I watched the clips, also it appeared like these were spending some time along as friends,” she mentioned. “It appeared regular. There seemed to be audio playing in the credentials. People felt okay.”

She said law enforcement had told her parents just that the men happened to be in national guardianship Long Beach dating app.

The killings came 30 days after Yampi Mendez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender guy, was actually murdered in Moca, P.R., based on the people legal rights venture.

In March, Alexa Negron Luciano, a popular figure on Puerto Rico social media who was simply transgender and homeless, ended up being recorded to dying after a McDonald’s client complained that Ms. Negron had spied on her behalf during the women’s room.

Ms. Negron’s last minutes — framed inside the headlights of an auto amid a cackle of fun — happened to be uploaded on social media, an undeniable fact that activists said underscored the impunity homophobic assailants feeling whenever committing this type of criminal activities.

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