Two Arrested in Killings of Transgender feamales in Puerto Rico
Law enforcement mentioned they had labeled the fatalities as a dislike crime after the remains of two girls had been present a terribly burned car the other day.
Weekly after the systems of two transgender girls comprise within a badly burned car in Puerto Rico, the authorities mentioned Thursday that they have detained two guys relating to the killings and had turned all of them over to the F.B.I.
The people, Juan Carlos Pagan Bonilla, 21, and Sean Diaz de Leon, 19, comprise taken into custody on Wednesday but have perhaps not been charged, in accordance with Capt. Teddy Morales, the main of violent investigations when it comes to authorities in Humacao, on Puerto Rico’s eastern shore, where in fact the women’s keeps happened to be available on April 22.
He stated the F.B.I. have absorbed the case and got exploring Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon for possible civil-rights violations.
“We tend to be classifying it as a hate criminal activity simply because they had been socializing aided by the subjects, and once they found out these people were transgender females, they chose to eliminate all of them,” head Morales stated on Thursday.
The authorities mentioned these people were waiting around for autopsy leads to determine how the women had been killed. Activists have determined the women as Layla Pelaez, 21, and Serena Angelique Velazquez, 32, two family just who lived-in new york. Their particular remains are receive after someone known as 911 to submit a burned automobile under a bridge on a desolate road in Humacao, right before 5 a.m. on April 22, chief Morales said.
Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon was in fact interacting with Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez throughout the nights before these were killed and happened to be taped on one associated with the women’s social media marketing records, head Morales said.
He said law enforcement got furthermore tied up Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon on killings through surveillance camera footage and “scientific facts,” which he decreased to detail. Mr. Pagan Bonilla confessed to playing the killings, and Mr. Diaz de Leon transformed themselves in, the guy said.
Limary Cruz-Rubio, a spokeswoman the F.B.I.’s San Juan field office, declined to discuss the arrests but stated the agency regularly collaborates with local, state and national companies.
“The Bureau is and will be contemplating criminal behavior which may fall within federal jurisdiction,” she stated. “However, our coverage try we really do not confirm or refute the existence of investigations, to protect the ethics of any possible investigative efforts.”
Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon would never instantly be attained for comment on Thursday nights, also it wasn’t instantly obvious as long as they have lawyers.
In the event the the male is recharged, it may represent a turning point in the maneuvering of criminal activities against L.G.B.T.Q. people in Puerto Rico, which has a disturbing reputation of violence against gay and transgender folk, activists stated.
Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez were the third and last transgender people killed in Puerto Rico within the last few 2 months, activists stated. They were in addition thought to be the seventh and eighth transgender or gender-nonconforming men and women to being slain in the us this season, in line with the people Rights promotion.
Prior to now 15 months, 10 L.G.B.T.Q. folks have already been killed in Puerto Rico, relating to Pedro Julio Serrano, a gay liberties activist. All but three for the fatalities continue to be unresolved, he stated.
“These arrests are one step from inside the proper course, nevertheless these murders have to be prosecuted as hate criminal activities,” Mr. Serrano mentioned. “We craving the government in order to complete the investigations from inside the different seven murders of L.G.B.T.Q. anyone in the isle and provide fairness regarding of these.”
Ms. Velazquez lived in Queens and Ms. Pelaez in Bronx. Both have not too long ago traveled to Puerto Rico, as well as comprise intending to fly back once again to New York afterwards this period, in accordance with family members and activists.
Luz Melendez, 29, Ms. Pelaez’s relative, said Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon had been detained after an area broadcast section uploaded images of these on myspace and individuals started initially to phone the facility to understand them.
“We tend to be very appreciative with the jobs your officials as well as the area put in to find who did this,” she mentioned on Thursday.
She mentioned the photographs originated from two video that Ms. Pelaez had submitted on her Snapchat and Facebook reports, which demonstrated their and Ms. Velazquez interacting with Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon.
“we saw the films, plus it appeared like they were hanging out together as company,” she stated. “It appeared regular. There was music playing in background. Everybody Else seemed great.”
She mentioned law enforcement had shared with her families only the males happened to be in national custody.
The killings emerged a month after Yampi Mendez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender guy, was slain in Moca, P.R., based on the individual Rights strategy.
In March, Alexa Negron Luciano, a well-known figure on Puerto Rico social networking who was simply transgender and homeless, got shot to demise after a McDonald’s consumer complained that Ms. Negron have spied gay straight hookup on her in the women’s area.
Ms. Negron’s last times — framed in headlights of a vehicle amid a cackle of laughter — had been published on social media marketing, a fact that activists stated underscored the impunity homophobic assailants become when committing this type of crimes.