Two detained in Killings of Transgender feamales in Puerto Rico
The police stated they had categorized the fatalities as a hate crime following the stays of two female are found in a badly burned vehicles a week ago.
A week after the system of two transgender ladies had been found in a terribly burned car in Puerto Rico, the authorities mentioned Thursday they have detained two boys associated with the killings along with transformed them to the F.B.I.
The boys, Juan Carlos Pagan Bonilla, 21, and Sean Diaz de Leon, 19, are taken into guardianship on Wednesday but I have not become charged, relating to Capt. Teddy Morales, the chief of violent investigations for police in Humacao, on Puerto Rico’s east coastline, in which the women’s remains happened to be entirely on April 22.
The guy said the F.B.I. had absorbed the actual situation and ended up being examining Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon for possible civil-rights violations.
“We become classifying it a detest criminal activity simply because they happened to be interacting with all the sufferers, and once they revealed they certainly were transgender people, they made a decision to kill all of them,” head Morales said on Thursday.
Law enforcement mentioned these were awaiting autopsy brings about determine how the ladies was basically murdered. Activists need recognized the ladies as Layla Pelaez, 21, and Serena Angelique Velazquez, 32, two pals which lived-in new york. Their particular remains had been discover after people called 911 to submit a burned auto under a bridge on a desolate highway in Humacao, just before 5 a.m. on April 22, chief Morales mentioned.
Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon was indeed interacting with Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez in the evening before these were slain and happened to be taped on one of this women’s social media reports, master Morales mentioned.
He stated law enforcement have furthermore tied Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon toward killings through security camera video footage and “scientific research,” which he dropped to detail. Mr. Pagan Bonilla admitted to playing the killings, and Mr. Diaz de Leon turned themselves in, the guy said.
Limary Cruz-Rubio, a spokeswoman for all the F.B.I.’s San Juan area office, declined to discuss the arrests but stated the agency consistently collaborates with neighborhood, condition and national agencies.
“The agency was and certainly will often be thinking about violent make that might drop within federal legislation,” she mentioned. “However, the policy was we really do not confirm or reject the existence of research, to safeguard the stability of every possible investigative effort.”
Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon couldn’t right away become reached for discuss Thursday evening, therefore wasn’t right away obvious should they got solicitors.
If men are billed, it might express a switching point in the handling of criminal activities against L.G.B.T.Q. folks in Puerto Rico, that has a disturbing history of physical violence against homosexual and transgender men and women, activists stated.
Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez are the 3rd and fourth transgender everyone murdered in Puerto Rico in the past two months, activists stated. These people were additionally considered to be the 7th and eighth transgender or gender-nonconforming individuals happen killed in the United States this current year, according to the peoples liberties promotion.
In the past 15 months, 10 L.G.B.T.Q. people have been murdered in Puerto Rico, in accordance with Pedro Julio Serrano, a gay rights activist. Just about three of the fatalities stay unsolved, he said.
“These arrests is one step within the proper movement, but these murders have to be prosecuted as hate criminal activities,” Mr. Serrano said. “We need the government to complete the investigations in the different seven murders of L.G.B.T.Q. someone regarding isle and offer justice regarding of those.”
Ms. Velazquez stayed in Queens and Ms. Pelaez inside Bronx. Both have not too long ago journeyed to Puerto Rico, plus they happened to be about to fly returning to ny afterwards this month, in accordance with relatives and activists.
Luz Melendez, 29, Ms. Pelaez’s relative, stated Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon had been detained after an area broadcast facility submitted pictures of those on Twitter and individuals began to contact the place to identify all of them.
“We include awesome appreciative associated with perform the authorities in addition to society input locate just who performed this,” she said on Thursday.
She stated the photographs came from two movies that Ms. Pelaez have posted on the Snapchat and myspace records, which revealed the girl and Ms. Velazquez interacting with Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon.
“we watched the video, therefore appeared like these people were hanging out collectively as family,” she mentioned. “It appeared normal. There was sounds playing in history. Everybody appeared great.”
She mentioned the authorities had told her household only your men are in federal custody.
The killings arrived four weeks after Yampi Mendez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender man, got slain in Moca, P.R., based on the person liberties Campaign.
In February, Alexa Negron Luciano, a popular figure on Puerto Rico social media who had been transgender and homeless, was actually shot to death after a McDonald’s customer complained that Ms. Negron got spied on her behalf inside women’s place.
Ms. Negron’s final times — framed during the headlights of a vehicle amid a cackle of laughter — happened to be uploaded on social networking, a fact that activists mentioned underscored the impunity homophobic attackers think when committing this type of criminal activities.