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US Marine held in slay of Subic transgender

Jaime Laude - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The tall, blond American met buxom, long-haired “Jennifer” in a disco in Subic last Saturday night, and they quickly hit it off.

They checked into a motel before 11 p.m. Half an hour later, the American was seen leaving the motel. His date was found naked in the bathroom, with the head resting on the rim of the toilet bowl. Jennifer – actually transgender Jeffrey Laude, 26 – lay dead with marks of being beaten and strangled.

The suspect, a US Marine whose identity was withheld by authorities until last night, was taken into custody by his superiors aboard an amphibious assault ship docked in Subic Bay.

The soldier was on furlough after taking part in a naval drill between Filipino and US forces in Zambales, when he allegedly killed Laude in Room 1 of Celzone Lodge on Magsaysay Boulevard.

Laude’s address was listed as 5th Street, Drapper West Tapinac, Olongapo City.

The case has brought back memories of a rape case also in Subic in 2005 involving US Marines. In the course of their celebrated trial for rape, the four accused Marines led by Lance Corporal Daniel Smith stayed at the US embassy in Manila despite efforts by local authorities to have them detained in local jails.

An article in the Marine Corps Times said the suspect – who is being held on board the USS Peleliu – belonged to the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

The Peleliu was one of the US navy ships that took part in the recent PHIBLEX joint Amphibious Landing Exercises.

The Marine Corps Times said corps officials at the Pentagon and in Hawaii declined to comment on the case. Attempts to reach the US embassy in Manila were not immediately successful, the newspaper said.

When sought for comment, Philippine defense spokesman Peter Paul Galvez said they were “still checking for more details.” But he said they acknowledged efforts by US authorities to cooperate with investigators.

The Marines Corps Times reported that three potential witnesses from the same unit as the suspect were also being held on the Peleliu while investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and local authorities was ongoing.

A certain Mark Clarence Gelviro, 32, alias “Barbie,” said he and Laude met the soldier at Ambyanz Disco bar on Magsaysay Drive.

On Laude’s request, Gelviro said he accompanied them to Celzone Lodge where the two checked in at around 10:55 p.m.

Gelviro said Laude later asked him to leave as the suspect might discover they were gays.

Celzone personnel said they later saw the suspect leaving the hotel at around 11:30 p.m.

Hotel cashier Elias Galamos said the door of the room was left ajar when he came to check after the suspect had left. He said he discovered the dead Laude naked inside the toilet, partly wrapped in a blanket and with his head resting on the rim of the toilet bowl.

Investigators said Laude bore strangulation marks.

“There was a visible mark of injuries on the victim’s neck, his tongue was protruding and his hair was in disarray,” a report prepared by the Olongapo City Police led by Senior Superintendent Pedrito delos Reyes stated.

Investigators said the suspect was about 25 to 30 years old, blond with short military haircut, and approximately 5’8” to 5’10” tall.

The man was wearing a white and blue striped T-shirt and black short pants.

Police said the room was noticeably in order with the victim’s personal belongings intact.

The victim’s body was taken to the St. Martin Funeral Homes in Olongapo City for autopsy.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said the matter is best addressed by the Visiting Forces Agreement Commission and not by the military. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Ric Sapnu

AMBYANZ DISCO

AMPHIBIOUS LANDING EXERCISES

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES MAJ

CAMP LEJEUNE

CELZONE LODGE

DOMINGO TUTAAN

DRAPPER WEST TAPINAC

LAUDE

MARINE CORPS TIMES

OLONGAPO CITY

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