The FBI is investigating a suspected hate crime after a pair of charred bodies, later identified as two transgender women, turned up in a vehicle late last month in Puerto Rico.
The scorched remains of Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, 32, and Layla Pelaez Sánchez, 21 were found in a vehicle in the coastal city of Humacao on April 22, according to CBS News.
Juan Carlos Pagán Bonilla, 21, and Sean Díaz De León, 19, were booked last week in connection to the suspected murders. Puerto Rican authorities described Ramos and Sánchez’s alleged murder as a “vile” crime that was driven by “revenge,” CBS News reported.
Ramos’ sister — who lives in Nashville — reportedly first learned of her sister’s death on social media. She was stunned to learn the news.
"I was in complete shock and disbelief because my sister was a great person," Francheska Alvarado said, according to CBS News. "She was never in the streets. She was just herself."
"She was a strong soul," Alvarado added. "My family is in deep sorrow, in shock. We were not expecting this whatsoever."
Activists also suspect Ramos and Sánchez’s murders were blatant hate crimes.
“They are hunting us and they are killing us," Ivana Fred, a representative for the Broad Committee for the Search for Equity, said in a statement. "There is no other way to put it. We demand immediate and urgent action by the government to stop this wave of violence against our trans and LGBTQ people."
The woman’s sister also alleged that hate crimes targeting members of the LGBTQ community are common on the island.
"We don't have details and I want to know what happened to my sister because justice has to be served," she stated. "This cannot continue to happen in Puerto Rico, where people are just killing others because they are not in acceptance with LGBTQ community and other people who are different."
Alvarado previously claimed she had received a Snapchat video hours before her sister was murdered, which appeared to show her sister and Sánchez laying on a bed, CBS News reported.
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