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Puerto Rico police investigate teen's slaying

Associated Press Modified: November 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm •  Published: November 16, 2009

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Police are investigating the slaying of a teenager whose charred, dismembered body was found along a road in southern Puerto Rico.

Authorities are looking into whether Jorge Steven Lopez, 19, may have been targeted because he was gay, regional police director Hector Agosto said Monday. But he cautioned that the investigation has just begun, and police are considering a number of possible motives.

"This was a ruthless crime," Agosto said. "Whoever did this just wanted to make the person disappear."

Gay rights groups called on police to investigate the slaying as a hate crime and planned several acts of remembrance as well as a protest outside the U.S. Caribbean territory's Capitol.

Activist Pedro Julio Serrano Serrano said the slaying has deeply affected the Puerto Rico's gay community.

"They are hurt and they are indignant," he said. "They are calling for justice."

Lopez's decapitated remains were discovered Friday in a wooded area of the southern town of Cayey.

Serrano said Lopez had interests in fashion and beauty and was planning to resume studies in communications at a local university in January.