The body of a gay teenager was discovered this past weekend, found burned and decapitated on the island of Puerto Rico.
Jorge Steven López Mercado’s body was found decapitated, dismembered and partially burned in a wooded area near Cayey on Friday, Nov. 13. His friends became concerned after he failed to meet them at a popular gay club in the San Juan’s Santurce neighborhood.
Investigator Angel Rodriguez’s assertion López, 19, somehow caused his own death sparked widespread outrage and anger among Puerto Rican activists.
“When these type of people get into this and go out into the streets like this, they know this can happen to them,” Rodriguez said a statement local media outlets broadcast and reported.
Gay groups are planning protests and acts of remembrance for the student, who was said to be studying fashion.
According to a CNN iReport by Christopher Pagan, Lopez Mercado was “well-known” and “very loved” in Puerto Rico’s gay community.
Members of the U.S. gay community are asking authorities to investigate whether the slaying was a hate crime because of the victim’s sexual orientation, said Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.