Crime | News | Puerto Rico

Gay Puerto Rican Teen Decapitated, Dismembered, and Burned


Over the weekend the brutalized body of gay teen George Steven Lopez Mercado was found by the side of a road in Puerto Rico. The police investigator suggested that he deserved what he got because of the "type of lifestyle" he was leading.

Mercado According to an iReport by Chrisopher Pagan: "On November 14 the body of a gay 19 year old was found a few miles away from the town in which he was residing in called Caguas. He was a very well known person in the gay community of Puerto Rico, and very loved. He was found on the site of an isolated road in the city of Cayey, he was partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered, both arms, both legs, and the torso. This has caused a huge reaction from the gay community here, but its a difficult situation. Never in the history of Puerto Rico has a murder been classified as a hate crime. Even though we have to follow federal mandates and laws, many of the laws in which are passed in the USA such as Obama’s new bill, do not always directly get practiced in Puerto Rico. The police agent that is handling this case said on a public televised statement that 'people who lead this type of lifestyle need to be aware that this will happen'. As If the boy murdered Jorge Steven Lopez was asking to get killed..."

Jorge Here's a report on the murder (in Spanish) from Said activist Pedro Julio Serrano: "It is inconceivable that the investigating officer suggests that the victim deserved his fate, like a woman deserves rape for wearing a short skirt. We demand condemnation of this investigator and demand that Superintendente Figueroa Sancha replace him with someone capable of investigating this case without prejudice." (my translation, please suggest a better one if you can).

UPDATE 1: Suspect arrested.

UPDATE 2: Suspect claims self defense, "gay panic".

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  1. Absolutely disgusting, both the crime and the police reaction.

    Posted by: Chris | Nov 16, 2009 9:00:19 AM

  2. Government needs to step up and address this BS

    Posted by: KFLO | Nov 16, 2009 10:06:26 AM

  3. Nineteen. I can't get over that. The brutality of this crime is staggering. The police need to go. In my opinion, the statement they made about his murder is complicit with the murderer. Whose side is the cop on? Wait, don't tell me, the kid came on to some dude, and he got what he deserved. I hope the gay community over there shuts that precinct down. They need a stonewall riot now!

    Nineteen. Jesus.

    Posted by: kody | Nov 16, 2009 11:24:03 AM

  4. Wow so incredibly sad and senseless. My deepest condolences to the friends and family of the Mercado family.

    Posted by: drake onian | Nov 16, 2009 11:29:44 AM

  5. The hate crimes bill was passed and signed. Does the FBI have jurisdiction in Puerto Rico?

    Posted by: Akrontru | Nov 16, 2009 11:57:58 AM

  6. i'm utterly heartbroken about this! justice for jorge!

    Posted by: Kevin | Nov 16, 2009 12:07:06 PM

  7. I have spent much time in Puerto Rico and know both cities of Caguas and Cayey very well. I am shocked that something like this would happen and shocked at the Police response. In all my time there I never experienced any outright gay bashing or even major acts of homophobia. My thoughts and prayers are with the Mercardo Family and the Puerto Rican Gay Community.

    Posted by: Dallas Dysfunction | Nov 16, 2009 12:10:57 PM


    Posted by: Christopher Pagan | Nov 16, 2009 12:11:39 PM

  9. This is absolutely horrible. I'm speechless. Indeed the superintendent should replace the investigating officer immeadiately. My thoughts are with his family and friends!

    Posted by: Acceptance | Nov 16, 2009 12:27:10 PM

  10. I wrote it so many times; haterosexual police side with haterosexual criminals when it relates to gay people. I feel very sorry for George. It is likely a group of haterosexuals who he didn't even know did this to him. When you add up the element of strangers killing him and the police's lack of action it is likely no one will be caught. Yes, this is a hate crime. The brutality suggests a hate crime.

    Posted by: Bill | Nov 16, 2009 12:32:18 PM

  11. My partner, who is Puerto Rican, and I were planning on going to Puerto Rico in a few weeks. Now, I'm not so sure.

    Posted by: Hank | Nov 16, 2009 12:41:33 PM

  12. "...My thoughts and prayers are with the Mercardo...Posted by: Dallas Dysfunction"

    Oh yeah. That'll help. Considering God Hates Fags. In fact, the murder of this boy is God's just rewards for his life of SIN.

    Don't you get it?

    Drop the Damn Bible and step away from the religion.

    If God wanted you to be a part of his religion, he would has prevented the attack from happening in the first place!

    That Said: Bash Back.

    Posted by: New Jersey Girl | Nov 16, 2009 12:51:26 PM

  13. I just don't know what to say about this.

    Posted by: Geoff | Nov 16, 2009 1:19:11 PM

  14. BOYCOTT Puerto Rico ... dollars speak volumes to certain governments. This crime sickens me - even the worst criminals are not treated like this. Barbaric, may the perpetrators suffer a death 10x slower, more brutal and barbaric!

    Posted by: AJay | Nov 16, 2009 1:21:47 PM

  15. "The investigating officer's suggestion that the victim was looking to be killed is inconceivable. It's like the absurd and false argument that a woman is looking to be raped if she wears a short skirt. We demand that this investigating officer resign from this case, and that Superintendent Figueroa Sancha replace him with someone capable of investigating this case without prejudice."

    Posted by: Rafael | Nov 16, 2009 1:33:15 PM

  16. If you have an account on, please digg this story:

    Posted by: esurience | Nov 16, 2009 1:41:15 PM

  17. Enough people , we need to something about this or it will be sweeped under the rug just like everything in Porto Rico

    Posted by: Jose | Nov 16, 2009 1:58:16 PM

  18. Moderator, can you remove the comment by XXX? "Battyboy" is a Caribbean slang term for gay man.

    Posted by: Megan | Nov 16, 2009 2:20:07 PM

  19. I've always found Puerto Rico to be pretty cool about gays. It was a stupid thing for the one cop to say, yes, but otherwise we don't know what this crime was about. Could have been an insane disgruntled ex-boyfriend for all we know so far.

    Posted by: JT | Nov 16, 2009 2:37:37 PM

  20. Hatecrime should be punished much harder than it is the case right now. This might help (I doubt it but still). R.I.P. George. Justice will be served hopefully !!

    Posted by: Norman | Nov 16, 2009 2:41:47 PM

  21. Another senseless and brutal death at the hands of homophobia,religious dogma and intolerance. I hope the gay community in Puerto Rico DEMANDS justice from those who are entrusted with enforcing it. In the meantime hopefully gay cruise lines like Atlantis and RSVP will consider withdrawing Puerto Rico as a port of call if they don't clean up their act.

    Posted by: SFshawn | Nov 16, 2009 3:15:33 PM

  22. This is absolutely disgusting. There isn't even a word to describe how disgusting it is.

    "The hate crimes bill was passed and signed. Does the FBI have jurisdiction in Puerto Rico?"

    Yes. And they should use it. And we as a country should consider disowning PR if they don't change their attitude.

    "All nasty homos should get this type of treatment"

    Fuck you.

    Posted by: Keith Kimmel | Nov 16, 2009 3:22:14 PM

  23. Oh man am I ever glad I am in Canada. We have NO tolerence for such crime, and if the cops said that about a murder here you would wish yourself that you would be dead.

    I myself am 18, and bi-sexual, though I tend to lean on the gay side.

    Its really sad to see such hate crimes, let the man forever rest in peace, and that his death get revenged.

    Posted by: Brad | Nov 16, 2009 3:48:04 PM

  24. SFshawn: We don't know what the motive of the killer was. I doubt this was the work of a garden variety gay basher. Most homophobes would not go to the trouble of dismembering, decapitating, and burning a corpse. That speaks to someone with a truly sick mind - going far beyond mere homophobia. Apparently, there was recently another murder in of a gay man in Condado - San Juan's predominently gay neighborhood. But without knowing more about the victim or his death, it's impossible to know if there is a pattern indicative of a serial killer.

    We do know, however, that the police response is totally unacceptable.

    Posted by: Hank | Nov 16, 2009 4:03:32 PM

  25. The above comments by JT and DALLAS are important to read here.

    The crime is horrible, the cop is a cruel bigot, and Puerto Rican society is NOT to blame for the act of a violent sadist.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 16, 2009 4:04:08 PM

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