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.
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“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.