Marine Held in Death of Transgender Woman in the Philippines

A U.S. Marine in the Philippines is being detained aboard a U.S. Navy ship in the death of a transgender woman after apparently finding out she was anatomically a male following a night at a local disco while on a port call, officials said.

"A joint Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Philippine National Police investigation is being conducted concerning the death of Jeffrey Laude, a Philippine national," said Col. Brad Bartelt, the spokesperson for U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific.

In a statement, Bartelt said the Marine Corp "is working closely and cooperating fully with the Philippine National Police to ensure a thorough investigation is completed and due process of law is followed."

He confirmed that the unidentified Marine is being held onboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu during the investigation.

The Marine is assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. That unit has been in the Philippines since late last month participating in an annual amphibious landing exercise.

Bartelt said "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim's family as they deal with their loss."

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported this weekend that police were investigating the death Saturday night of Laude whose body was found in a hotel in Olongapo City. Laude's friend said they had met a "male white foreigner" at a local disco before they headed off to a nearby hotel. When they reached the hotel Laude told the friend to leave the hotel "before the foreigner could discover that they were transgenders."

A hotel employee later discovered Laude's body in a hotel room bathroom an apparent victim of strangulation.