Two Arrested in Killings of Transgender feamales in Puerto Rico

The police said they’d categorized the deaths as a hate crime after the keeps of two lady happened to be found in a severely burned car last week.

Each week following the figures of two transgender female happened to be found in a poorly burned vehicle in Puerto Rico, law enforcement stated Thursday which they got detained two people in connection with the killings and had turned all of them to the F.B.I.

The men, Juan Carlos Pagan Bonilla, 21, and Sean Diaz de Leon, 19, are used into guardianship on Wednesday but I have not already been billed, according to Capt. Teddy Morales, the principle of criminal investigations for all the police inside Humacao, on Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, where in actuality the women’s remains were found on April 22.

He mentioned the F.B.I. have bought out the situation and had been exploring Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon for feasible civil-rights violations.

“We include classifying it as a detest criminal activity simply because they are socializing making use of the sufferers, as soon as they found out these people were transgender ladies, they made a decision to destroy all of them,” head Morales stated on Thursday.

Law enforcement mentioned they were waiting around for autopsy results to decide how the ladies have been killed. Activists have actually recognized the ladies as Layla Pelaez, 21, and Serena Angelique Velazquez, 32, two company whom lived-in nyc. Her stays comprise discovered after a person labeled as 911 to document a burned vehicle under a bridge on a desolate road in Humacao, right before 5 a.m. on April 22, head Morales stated.

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon was indeed socializing with Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez in the night before these people were slain and had been tape-recorded on a single of the women’s social media reports, head Morales said.

He mentioned the police have in addition tied up Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon towards the killings through security camera footage and “scientific evidence,” that he decreased to outline. Mr. Pagan Bonilla admitted to participating in the killings, and Mr. Diaz de Leon transformed themselves in, the guy said.

Limary Cruz-Rubio, a spokeswoman for any F.B.I.’s San Juan industry office, dropped to discuss the arrests but mentioned the bureau consistently collaborates with regional, state and national companies.

“The Bureau is and certainly will be contemplating criminal conduct that might drop within federal jurisdiction,” she mentioned. “However, our policy was we do not confirm or reject the presence of investigations, to safeguard the integrity of any possible investigative effort.”

Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon couldn’t straight away feel attained for touch upon Thursday night, also it wasn’t straight away obvious should they got solicitors.

When the the male is billed, it could represent a flipping point in the handling of crimes against L.G.B.T.Q. people in Puerto Rico, which has a disturbing reputation of physical violence against gay and transgender group, activists said.

Ms. Velazquez and Ms. Pelaez happened to be the next and last transgender someone killed in Puerto Rico within the last two months, activists said. These people were also thought to be the seventh and eighth transgender or gender-nonconforming people to are killed in america this current year, according to the individual liberties strategy.

In the past 15 months, 10 L.G.B.T.Q. people have been slain in Puerto Rico, relating to Pedro Julio Serrano, a gay liberties activist. All but three for the deaths stay unsolved, he mentioned.

“These arrests include one step for the right direction, but these murders have to be prosecuted as dislike criminal activities,” Mr. Serrano said. “We desire government entities in order to complete the research in the more seven murders of L.G.B.T.Q. men regarding isle and provide fairness for every of these.”

Ms. Velazquez lived in Queens and Ms. Pelaez during the Bronx. Both got not too long ago journeyed to Puerto Rico, and they had been intending to fly back to ny later on this period, according to family members and activists.

Luz Melendez, 29, Ms. Pelaez’s cousin, stated Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon happened to be arrested after a nearby broadcast facility published images of those on Facebook and people began to phone the place to understand them.

“We tend to be very appreciative associated with services that authorities together with society place in discover just who did this,” she said on Thursday.

She stated the images originated two clips that Ms. Pelaez had posted on her behalf Snapchat and fb profile, which demonstrated this lady and Ms. Velazquez interacting with Mr. Pagan Bonilla and Mr. Diaz de Leon.

“I noticed the movies, and it seemed like they were spending some time collectively as buddies,” she said. “It seemed regular. There is audio playing for the credentials. Everybody seemed okay.”

She mentioned law enforcement have told her parents only the guys are in federal custody.

The killings came a month after Yampi Mendez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender people, was actually killed in Moca, P.R., in line with the people liberties strategy.

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

Ms. Negron’s best minutes — framed for the headlights of an automobile amid a cackle of laughter — comprise uploaded on social networking, an undeniable fact that activists said underscored the impunity homophobic assailants become when committing these types of criminal activities.