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Two Arrested in Killings of Transgender feamales in Puerto Rico

Law enforcement mentioned that they had classified the deaths as a dislike crime after the stays of two females are within a poorly burned car a week ago.

A week following system of two transgender lady happened to be present in a badly burned automobile in Puerto Rico, the police said Thursday which they got arrested two guys relating to the killings along with transformed them over to the F.B.I.

The males, Juan Carlos Pagan Bonilla, 21, and Sean Diaz de Leon, 19, happened to be taken into custody on Wednesday but I have maybe not already been recharged, in accordance with Capt. Teddy Morales, the principle of violent investigations for all the police in Humacao, on Puerto Rico’s east shore, where in fact the women’s keeps were available on April 22.

He said the F.B.I. had bought out the case and got investigating Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon for possible civil-rights violations.

“We is classifying it as a detest crime simply because they comprise interacting using the subjects, and when they realized these people were transgender women, they made a decision to eliminate them,” head Morales said on Thursday.

Law enforcement stated these people were waiting for autopsy brings about decide how the ladies was in fact killed. Activists have actually recognized the women as Layla Pelaez, 21, and Serena Angelique Velazquez, 32, two buddies which lived in new york. Their unique remains were found after a person known as 911 to submit a burned vehicles under a bridge on a desolate road in Humacao, right before 5 a.m. on April 22, master Morales mentioned.

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon were socializing with Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez from the evening before these were murdered and comprise tape-recorded on one regarding the women’s social networking account, master Morales mentioned.

He said law enforcement got also tied up Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon into the killings through security camera video footage and “scientific facts,” which he dropped to outline. Mr. Pagan Bonilla confessed to taking part in the killings, and Mr. Diaz de Leon transformed themselves in, he stated.

Limary Cruz-Rubio, a spokeswoman when it comes down to F.B.I.’s San Juan industry company, declined to talk about the arrests but mentioned the agency routinely collaborates with local, condition and federal firms.

“The Bureau are and can often be into criminal behavior which might fall within federal legislation,” she stated. “However, all of our policy was we do not verify or refuse the existence of research, to protect the integrity of every possible investigative efforts.”

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon could not right away feel achieved for touch upon Thursday night, therefore had not been straight away obvious as long as they got lawyers.

If the male is recharged, it might represent a switching reason for the managing of crimes against L.G.B.T.Q. folks in Puerto Rico, which includes a disturbing reputation for violence against homosexual and transgender group, activists stated.

Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez happened to be the 3rd and fourth transgender folks killed in Puerto Rico in the past 8 weeks, activists stated. They were additionally believed to be the 7th and 8th transgender or gender-nonconforming men and women to were killed in the us this current year, according to research by the peoples Rights Campaign.

In earlier times 15 months, 10 L.G.B.T.Q. people have become murdered in Puerto Rico, per Pedro Julio Serrano, a gay liberties activist. Just about three regarding the deaths stays unsolved, the guy stated.

“These arrests is a step from inside the best movement, nevertheless these murders need to be prosecuted as dislike crimes,” Mr. Serrano said. “We craving the federal government to complete the research for the different seven murders of L.G.B.T.Q. folk in the isle and offer justice for all of them.”

Ms. Velazquez lived-in Queens and Ms. Pelaez inside the Bronx. Both have lately journeyed to Puerto Rico, as well as happened to be looking to travel back to nyc afterwards this period, per family members and activists.

Luz Melendez, 29, Ms. Pelaez’s cousin, said Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon are arrested after a regional broadcast station uploaded pictures of these on Facebook and other people begun to phone the place to identify all of them.

“We is awesome appreciative of this efforts your officials as well as the society invest discover which did this,” she stated on Thursday.

She said the photographs came from two clips that Ms. Pelaez had posted on her Snapchat and myspace records, which demonstrated the woman and Ms. Velazquez socializing with Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon.

“we noticed the movies, therefore seemed like these were spending time along as company,” she mentioned. “It felt regular. There was clearly music playing within the background. Everybody appeared good.”

She said law enforcement got told her family members best that guys had been in national guardianship.

The killings came monthly after Yampi Mendez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender guy, ended up being killed in Moca, P.R., in accordance with the Human liberties Campaign.

In February, Alexa Negron Luciano, a famous figure on Puerto Rico social networking who had been transgender and homeless, ended up being shot to demise after a McDonald’s client complained that Ms. Negron had spied on her in the women’s place.

Ms. Negron’s best moments — presented in the headlights of a vehicle korean dating service amid a cackle of fun — were published on social media marketing, an undeniable fact that activists said underscored the impunity homophobic attackers become when committing this type of crimes.