Serena and Layla-Transgender Women Killed in PR Serena and Layla are the most recent victims of violence against the transgender community in Puerto Rico. Four brutal murders have been confirmed since February.
Image courtesy of Pedro Julio Serrano for The Americano

With two suspects arrested the FBI claims jurisdiction in this case with enough evidence to categorize it as a hate crime.

San Juan — The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) assumed last night the jurisdiction of the case of the murders of Serena Velázquez (32) and Layla Peláez (21) who were burned to death last week in Puerto Rico.

Two young men were arrested yesterday by the local police as suspects. The Bureau will take over the investigation because it’s a violation of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people that have been killed because of their sexual orientation — in other words — a hate crime.

RELATED: Suspects In Murder Of Trans Women Serena and Layla Arrested in Puerto Rico

Juan C. Pagán Bonilla (21) and Sean Díaz De León (19) are under custody and being interrogated. They are both residents of Juncos, a municipality only a few miles away from where the horrific scene took place in Humacao, on the East side of the island.

Captain Teddy Morales from the Cuerpo de Investigaciones Criminales (CIC) released a statement with the details of the capture and the names of the suspects. Morales stated that one of the suspects confessed the motive was “revenge.”

The suspects appeared in a video posted on their social networks, hanging out with the victims hours before the tragic events.

RELATED: Trans People Are Being Hunted In Puerto Rico. It’s About Damn Time To Do Something To Stop It.

Activist Pedro Julio Serrano reacted to the news of these arrests via Twitter. In a written statement Serrano demanded that this case be classified as a hate crime and asked that they clarify the other 7 murders of LGBTQ people that have taken place in the past 15 months on the Island, of which 13 are still unsolved.

Serena Angelique was a resident of Queens, New York that was vacationing in Puerto Rico for the past weeks. Her death and Layla’s marked the fifth life lost to hate in Puerto Rico, since February.