A U.S. Marine has been accused by transgender activists in the Philippines of murdering a trans woman he met at a club over the weekend.
Jennifer Laude, 26, also known as Jeffrey, was found "apparently strangled and drowned, beside the toilet" in and Olongapo City hotel room Saturday night, according to the AP. She was last seen checking in with a Caucasian man in his twenties with a Marine-style "high and tight" haircut.
An unnamed Marine from the North Carolina-based 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, is being held aboard the amphibious assault ship Peleliu as an investigation into the death of Jeffrey Laude, a Philippine national, is carried out, said Col. Brad Bartelt, a spokesman for Marine Corps Forces Pacific...
Laude was with a friend and "a foreigner" at the hotel after leaving a local disco bar. The friend reportedly told police that shortly after they arrived at the hotel, Laude became uneasy, and asked the friend to leave before "the foreigner could discover that they were transgenders," Inquirer.net reported.
According to the Filipino social news site Rappler, authorities say Laude was found with her head leaning against the toilet bowl in a "comfort room" at the Celzone Lounge. Two used condoms were also recovered from the crime scene. Police released closed-circuit footage of Laude with the suspect in a bar earlier in the evening.
Police say that the Marine "may have been angered" when he saw that Laude was transgender, the AP reports.
Local law enforcement in cooperation with Naval Criminal Investigative Services identified the suspected Marine, and witnesses selected him out of a lineup, Rappler said. The local mayor reported that before being returned to U.S. military custody, the private first class told Filipino officials: "I did something wrong." His name has not been revealed to the public.
The Philippines continues to host Navy and Marine Corps forces at a base in Subic Bay. Under a longstanding "Visiting Forces Agreement," the U.S. must agree to waive its jurisdiction over American citizens for them to face trial by Filipino authorities.