Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado
Died November, 2009
Jorge Mercado was a gay 19 year-old man. His body was found burned, decapitated, and dismembered. Jorge lived in Caguas, Puerto Rico. According to an article carried on the 365 Gay news system, which appears to have originally been an iReport article, Jorge was loved in the gay community. An article, with a photograph of Jorge, can be found on the Towleroad web site. At this stage, we are not certain if Jorge's death is due to a hate crime. This level of violence is generally thought to be one characteristic of a hate crime.
News articles contain a remark attributed to an investigating police official that is of concern. We gather remarks were made to the effect that people who live a gay life style need to be aware this will happen. People who can read Spanish are encouraged to read the news article in Spanish, to ensure the translations appear accurate. A Spanish account can be read on the Topix web site.
Jorge's death touched hearts around the world. A few places where vigils for Jorge were organized include the following cities: New York, Anchorage, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Durham, Los Angeles, Lubbock, New Orleans, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Terre Haute, Washington, DC, and West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and San Vicente. An article on the Edge system says an estimated 1,000 people attended Jorge's funeral. An aunt is quoted as saying that she asked Steven ". . . with his wings from heaven to help us carry on . . ."
You Tube has a video of Jarret Barrios, the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, speaking about Jorge's murder. The video is bilingual - Spanish and English. Miriam Mercado, Jorge's mother, talks about Jorge on a You Tube video. Her video comments are in Spanish. According to an Edge article , when Jorge's mother learned he was gay, she said, "Now, I love you more."
There is a Facebook group of people who are wanting justice for Jorge. People who have a Facebook account can join the group, by clicking here and following the directions to add friends.