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. Derrick, JT, and Dallas: you are correct. And, after thinking about it, I still intend to go to PR for my vacation. I have found most people to be very welcoming and inviting. But like any place, there are certain areas where you should be careful.

    Recently, a serial killer was uncovered in Cleveland, who had killed (at least) 11 African-American women. No one is suggesting that African-American women flee Cleveland.

    However, the Federal government must apply pressure on local law enforcement to ensure this case is prosecuted. And if there's evidence that this is a hate crime, the Feds need to take over the investigation.

    Puerto Rico is far from perfect, but they are light years ahead of their neighbors Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. They are also far ahead of American Samoa, and no one is suggesting we withdraw their territorial status or boycott them is counter-productive.

    Posted by: Hank | Nov 16, 2009 4:20:21 PM

  2. This crime is unimaginable. But to have an officer give such a response is indicative of the level of ignorance in his community!

    He should be fired!

    Posted by: nativenyker | Nov 16, 2009 4:21:34 PM

  3. LAst sentence should read: They are also far ahead of American Samoa, and no one is suggesting we withdraw their territorial status. To boycott PR would be counter-productive.

    Posted by: Hank | Nov 16, 2009 4:46:27 PM

  4. Devastating.

    Posted by: Andrew | Nov 16, 2009 4:49:49 PM

  5. If someone sees a link for a memorial fund for Jorge's family/friends I'd appreciate a link


    Posted by: Qbear | Nov 16, 2009 5:02:43 PM

  6. Sad way for such a beautiful young boy to die. I have to wonder if anything will be done to apprehend his killer. Probably not. This is a reminder of the way gay men are hated, and the danger we all face if our sexual preference is known.

    Posted by: Gabe R L | Nov 16, 2009 5:13:09 PM

  7. To the shit that said all gay men should die such a death I think all straight guys should be killed after they breed gay sons!

    Posted by: Gabe R L | Nov 16, 2009 5:14:24 PM

  8. Sad. The dismemberment probably had to do with trying to dispose of his body, not necessarily because he was gay and somebody was trying to leave a message.

    P.R. is pretty open and Ricans are generally cool people, but there's A LOT of violent crime, especially away from the tourist areas.

    Posted by: John in Boston | Nov 16, 2009 5:23:44 PM

  9. Please keep us updated on this story. The police chief sounds like a pure THUG...and I hope the Puerto Rican gay community stands up and speaks up and is LOUD about taking action so this kind of thing never occurs again in their island!!

    Posted by: Bayley | Nov 16, 2009 5:44:53 PM

  10. This is so sad and sickening.

    Posted by: BJ Foster | Nov 16, 2009 6:04:26 PM

  11. Okay, I feel the need to address some of the comments on here. I was born and realized in Puerto Rico, although I have lived in the mainland for the past seven years. First, it makes no sense calling for a boycott on all things Puerto Rico. I mean... really? That'd "help" a lot, considering the economic situation on the island and how many members of the LGBT community work in the service industry, which would be severely affected. Second, "disowning" Puerto Rico? Hummmm, Puerto Rico is not under US jurisdiction by choice... the US invaded the island in 1898 when it declared war on Spain. The US gov't has a less than stellar history when it comes to treating Puerto Rico and its people. Nonetheless, as far as I am concerned, the recent proliferation of radical evangelism and violent Christian rhetoric (all which comes from the mainland US) has changed the way Puerto Ricans look at things. There was a transgender woman murdered in DC a few weeks ago (I used to live there)... would you call for the US to drop DC as well? Or are you advocating (as has been often the case) different treatment for Puerto Rico because it is an island with Hispanic heritage? Let's stay focused on the issues and how to address them as a community, instead of making senseless generalizations.

    Posted by: casiano19 | Nov 16, 2009 6:09:49 PM

  12. So awful. Heartbreaking.

    Posted by: Phoebe | Nov 16, 2009 6:27:14 PM

  13. A faction of Puerto Ricans, since on July 25,1898 Puerto Rico was invaded by the USA and the elected government was throw out, have been attempting to get away from the U.S.A.
    Who would of though this would be the way to gain independence.
    Seeing so many want PR ejected as a colony in the US public.

    Posted by: warren | Nov 16, 2009 6:58:05 PM

  14. I am sorry, but it is not for "the US public" to decide. Self-determination, anyone?

    Posted by: casiano19 | Nov 16, 2009 7:21:11 PM

  15. Sorry about the hateful comments that were left here earlier, and thanks to the commenter who notified me about them. As I can't moderate every comment on the site I depend on that. I've banned the commenter. Hopefully it will hold.

    Posted by: andy | Nov 16, 2009 7:41:47 PM

  16. To the guy still going to PR for his vacation, one question: why? Vote with your dollars. There are plenty of places to go on this planet that are every bit as beautiful and fun. At least boycott the place until that cop is fired.

    Posted by: Keith Kimmel | Nov 16, 2009 7:44:40 PM


    Posted by: KRISTINE | Nov 16, 2009 8:20:36 PM

  18. I am from Puerto Rico an is very sad to get news like this one, and the comments that the police made a very cruel, is like they are saying it was his fault. My most sincere condolence to the family and friends of this boy.

    Posted by: Maria | Nov 16, 2009 8:35:52 PM

  19. Wow. This is sickening beyon words, as is the degenerate police officer's remarks. He OUGHT be suspended without pay pending an investigation into his behavior. Chances are that won't happen, and this murder will remain unsolved given that the investigating officer basically said he's unwilling to persue this crime competently. He might as well have said "god's will, case closed". Total scumbag. This has all of the markings of a hate crime given the mutilation of the corpse. But, it's peurto rico...where crime's a way of life.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 16, 2009 8:35:57 PM

  20. Keith Kimmel: Boycott the entire island because one cop says something stupid? That's like boycotting New York City because Fox News has its studios there. Get a grip.

    Posted by: Ted | Nov 16, 2009 8:50:47 PM

  21. Three things to keep the fight for protecting rights about EVERYONES rights---

    1. This crime is horrific.
    2. We don't know who committed, nor their motivation.
    3. The cop's offensive response was NOT translated correctly and that is offensive to me. What he said wasn't right, but how it was translated was manipulative and therefore undermines rather than strengthens the point.

    "Este tipo de personas cuando se meten a esto y salen a la calle saben que esto les puede pasar."

    This type of person, when they are involved in this and go out on the street, know that this can happen.

    That is what the police officer is quoted as saying in Spanish.--- NOT that "they NEED to know that this WILL happen."

    Posted by: Juana Maria | Nov 16, 2009 9:15:44 PM

  22. Puerto Rico's Police Department needs to have Cultural Sensitivity Trainings...I can't understand that anyone can make a statement such as this one...regardless of someones sexual preferences he was someones child and no one deserves to die in such a heart goes out to the Mercados Family...I pray they catch the Monster that did such a hate crime and have no mercy on their freedom...

    Posted by: Tina | Nov 16, 2009 11:16:30 PM

  23. This is all just so sad! My thoughts and prayers are with the deceased.

    Posted by: Chris | Nov 17, 2009 12:52:50 AM

  24. This is totally apaulling. If a punishment does not befall this officer for his accusations, then this case should be brought to a higher power by the gay community, and not dropped until True Justice is Served. This is just horrifying. =(

    Posted by: Derek J | Nov 17, 2009 12:55:38 AM

  25. New Jersey Girl, you need to go back to your trailer park and fuck your brother again. If I wanted your opinion, I'd ask you to pop that co** out of your mouth first!

    Posted by: New Jersey Girls newest enemy | Nov 17, 2009 1:10:23 AM

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