Police report misgenders year’s ‘first femicide’; slaying of trans man confirmed

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @PCorreaHenry

Special to The Star

Despite the Puerto Rico Police Bureau reporting on Jan. 9 “the first femicide of 2021” in Trujillo Alto, it was not.

Authorities confirmed to the STAR on Tuesday that family members identified the dead person found along PR-181, the Trujillo Alto Expressway, who went by the name of Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín and identified as a trans man, according to his Facebook page.

Carolina Homicide Director Lt. José Padín said Valentín’s stepfather and mother were able to identify him, although they used his deadname during the identification.

“His mom told me that he would always prefer for others to call him Samuel, Sam or Sammy when he was out in the streets,” Padín said.

When the STAR asked if Valentín’s parents spoke about his gender identity, the homicide director replied that “they knew about the changes he wanted to do.”

“They didn’t elaborate on the topic; they were greatly affected by his death,” Padín added.

According to the Police report, while Icha Rohena was driving her Kia Sportage vehicle on the aforementioned unlit road, she hit an object on the pavement and stopped her car to investigate.

The report continued that upon returning to the spot, she noticed a person lying on the pavement with multiple gunshot wounds to different parts of the body.

Valentín was described by authorities as a 180-pound person, 5 feet-2 inches tall, with short brown hair and wearing black shorts, a black coat and long black stockings.

Nonetheless, the report itself misgendered him.

When the STAR asked why the misgendering occurred at a time when members of the trans community have been calling out the authorities and media outlets for misgendering Valentín, Padín replied that “the body had no identifications nor were there family members who were able to identify him beforehand.”

“In this case, investigators at the Forensic Sciences Institute, based on his genitals, used the name ‘Jane Doe,’ and that’s how you all found out,” Padín said. “The Police had no information about him being a trans man.”

Going on a year after Neulisa Alexa Luciano Ruiz was slain following the release of a defamatory post on social media platforms in a homicide case that still remains unsolved, Valentín became the seventh trans person killed on the island.

Detective Erick Rodríguez from the Carolina Homicide Division is in charge of the investigation.

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