Two Arrested in Killings of Transgender Women in Puerto Rico

Two Arrested in Killings of Transgender Women in Puerto Rico

The authorities mentioned that they had classified the deaths as a detest crime following the stays of two lady were within a badly burned auto last week.

Per week following body of two transgender people happened to be within a terribly burned auto in Puerto Rico, the police said Thursday they had detained two boys associated with the killings along with transformed all of them over to the F.B.I.

The men, Juan Carlos Pagan Bonilla, 21, and Sean Diaz de Leon, 19, were used into guardianship on Wednesday but have maybe not become energized, per Capt. Teddy Morales, the main of violent investigations your authorities in Humacao, on Puerto Rico’s east coast, where women’s stays had been found on April 22.

The guy said the F.B.I. got bought out the case and was actually investigating Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon for feasible civil-rights violations.

“We include classifying it a detest criminal activity since they were socializing making use of the subjects, and once they found out these were transgender people, they decided to eliminate them,” head Morales mentioned on Thursday.

Law enforcement mentioned these people were awaiting autopsy results to figure out how the ladies was in fact slain. Activists have actually determined the ladies as Layla Pelaez, 21, and Serena Angelique Velazquez, 32, two family just who lived-in New York City. Her stays had been discovered after a person labeled as 911 to document a burned vehicle under a bridge on a desolate street in Humacao, before 5 a.m. on April 22, Captain Morales mentioned.

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon was basically socializing with Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez throughout the evening before these were killed and comprise tape-recorded using one from the women’s social networking accounts, Captain Morales mentioned.

He stated the authorities have additionally fastened Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon toward killings through surveillance camera footage and “scientific evidence,” that he decreased to outline. Mr. Pagan Bonilla admitted to participating in the killings, and Mr. Diaz de Leon turned themselves in, the guy said.

Limary Cruz-Rubio, a spokeswoman your F.B.I.’s San Juan field company, decreased to go over the arrests but stated the agency consistently collaborates with regional, state and national agencies.

“The Bureau try and will be interested in violent run that may fall within federal legislation,” she stated. “However, all of our coverage is actually we do not confirm or refuse the presence of research, to guard the ethics of any feasible investigative work.”

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon would never instantly end up being attained for touch upon Thursday nights, also it wasn’t immediately obvious when they got lawyers.

In the event the men are recharged, it could portray a switching point in the handling of crimes against L.G.B.T.Q. folks in Puerto Rico, which has a disturbing reputation for assault against homosexual and transgender folks, activists said.

Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez had been the 3rd and fourth transgender men and women killed in Puerto Rico within the last 8 weeks, activists said. They were furthermore thought to be the seventh and eighth transgender or gender-nonconforming individuals have already been killed in america this present year, according to the people legal rights promotion.

In earlier times 15 period, 10 L.G.B.T.Q. individuals have been slain in Puerto Rico, per Pedro Julio Serrano, a gay rights activist. All but three for the deaths remain unsolved, the guy said.

“These arrests tend to be a step in the best movement, but these murders have to be prosecuted as hate crimes,” Mr. Serrano mentioned. “We need government entities to complete the investigations into the different seven murders of L.G.B.T.Q. men and women on isle and offer fairness for all of those.”

Ms. Velazquez lived-in Queens and Ms. Pelaez for the Bronx. Both have recently moved to Puerto Rico, and were likely to travel back once again to New York after this thirty days, per members of the family and activists.

Luz Melendez, 29, Ms. Pelaez’s relative, stated Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon had been detained after a nearby broadcast station submitted pictures of those on fb and individuals started initially to phone the section to determine them.

“We are super appreciative for the perform that the officials and neighborhood put in to acquire who performed this,” she stated on Thursday.

She stated the images originated two videos that Ms. Pelaez have uploaded on her behalf Snapchat and Twitter reports, which demonstrated this lady and Ms. Velazquez socializing with Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon.

“we saw the videos, and it seemed like these people were hanging out along as family,” she mentioned. “It seemed regular. There seemed to be audio playing during the credentials. Everyone Else felt great.”

She said the authorities have informed her family members merely that people were in national custody.

The killings arrived 30 days after Yampi Mendez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender guy, ended up being murdered in Moca, P.R., according to the person liberties promotion.

In March, Alexa Negron Luciano, a well-known figure on Puerto Rico social media marketing who had been transgender and homeless, was actually recorded to dying after a McDonald’s client complained that Ms. Negron got spied on her behalf within the women’s place.

Ms. Negron’s last minutes — framed from inside the headlights of a motor vehicle amid a cackle of fun — comprise published on social media marketing, an undeniable fact that activists said underscored the impunity homophobic attackers feel whenever committing such criminal activities.