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US probes American tagged in Filipino's death

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The United States Embassy in the Philippines has vowed to investigate the possible involvement of an American in the murder of a transgender Filipino in Olongapo City.

“We are aware of the situation and express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. We are also aware that there are allegations that a foreigner, including possibly a US national, was involved in the incident,” the US Embassy said in a statement aired by GMA News on Monday, October 13.

“We are currently looking into these allegations and working closely with the Philippine National Police (PNP) to take all necessary steps to help identify the suspects,” the embassy added. On Monday afternoon, the US Pacific Command ordered to put on hold the departure of US ships from Subic Bay. (READ: US stops departure of ships after transgender murder)

A police report on Sunday, October 12, identified the victim as Jeffrey Laude, also known as Jennifer.

Laude, 26, was found dead on the floor of a comfort room in Celzone Lodge, Olongapo City, according to the report signed by Police Chief Inspector Gil Arizo Domingo.

Laude's head “was leaning” on a toilet bowl, while “his lower body was partially covered with a color cream blanket” as the victim was naked, the report said.

Police saw injuries on Laude's neck.

Witness Elias Gallamos said Laude entered Celzone Lodge with an “unidentified male white foreigner” at around 10:55 pm on Saturday, October 11. Gallamos said the foreigner sports a marine “style of hair cut,” and is between 25 and 30 years old.

The PNP said it is working to arrest the suspect. – with reports from Paterno Esmaquel II and Randy Datu/Rappler.com