Governor laments wave of violent crime as FBI joins probe into slaying of 2 girls
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi
By JOHN McPHAUL
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Thursday that he does not foresee major changes in the Police Security Plan, but acknowledged that efforts must be increased to address the roots of crime in response to the slayings of three minors and two young adults in the towns of Loíza and Carolina on Tuesday.
“There are roots of crime for which the solution is more long-term. What the police do is more reactive and more about reacting to the crime at the time and investigating it hand-in-hand with the Department of Justice so that the crimes are solved and those responsible are prosecuted,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “But I recognize that there is another job that we have to do at the level of our education system, at the level of our support that we give to families in Puerto Rico. The mental health problem we have, the addiction problem we have on the island. That is, there is also a question here of values that we have to be working on constantly, since they are children until they are already in adulthood.”
Meanwhile, the FBI field office in San Juan joined local authorities in investigating the slaying of two minors in Loíza, for which the FBI requested the public’s cooperation in obtaining relevant information about the case.
“The FBI is requesting information regarding the double murder of Tanaisha Michelle De Jesus Curet, 15, and Nahia Paola Ramos Lopez, 13. If you or someone you know has information, call 787-987-6500 or leave a tip through http://tips.FBI.gov,” reads a statement from FBI San Juan on its Twitter account.
The two disappeared from their home in the Las 500 community in Arroyo.
The slayings occurred in the early hours of Tuesday when the two girls were found dead inside a stolen 2018 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck in a beach area off highway PR-187 in the Piñones district of Loíza.
The truck had been carjacked on Sunday.
The authorities do not rule out a link to a triple-slaying that occurred hours later in the Campeche sector of the Martín González neighborhood in Carolina.
The Institute of Forensic Sciences confirmed the identity of the three young victims of the Carolina slayings. The victims, Erik Johan Batista Trinidad, 27, Iván Alfonso Morales Rivera, 15, and Dartaneon Pablo Figueroa Navarro, 18, were found Wednesday.
“We are in an all-out fight against crime and we are working with federal law enforcement authorities like never before,” the governor said. “Here what you have to do is intensify. It is to continue intensifying that struggle. And to lower violence in Puerto Rico, starting with murders even more than it has dropped in its total number. And let’s not have violence of any kind, which is the goal we must have as a people.”
“But we need change,” Pierluisi continued. “Well, the changes are constantly happening in the sense that here the regions of the police, the 13 regions that we have, the police, the commands, the 13 command units are sharing information, intelligence. This has been the case since this administration began; that’s something new. In the same way, we have a new superintendency that basically unites the work of the division of drugs, stolen vehicles and another for homicides, among others. And again, coordinate and share information. That is new and the important thing is, as I say, to keep it firm.”
Pierluisi sent his condolences to the families of all five young victims.
“Right now, I can only join in the grief of their relatives. I lost a brother to carjacking. I know the suffering that the families of those five young people must have,” the governor said. “What is now missing is for this to be thoroughly investigated. I welcome the fact that both the police and the FBI are investigating this so that it is solved and whoever has to be held responsible is held accountable. But my solidarity, my brotherhood with all the relatives of these young people, because I know what they are going through.”