MANILA, Philippines (CNN) — A U.S. Marine is facing a murder complaint filed by Philippine authorities in the death of a transgender woman who was found strangled in a Philippines hotel room earlier this month.
Pfc. Scott Pemberton was taken into custody last week by U.S. military authorities. A “preliminary investigation before (Philippine) prosecutors” is scheduled for Tuesday, according to the Marine Corps Times newspaper. A formal murder charge could result from the investigation, Philippine authorities said.
The victim was 26-year-old Jeffrey Laude, who was also known as Jennifer.
Her naked body was found with her head in a toilet in an Olongapo hotel room shortly after midnight on October 12, police said.
Witnesses told police that Pemberton was with Laude at a local disco before the two checked into a hotel on the night of October 11, according to documents seen by CNN.
“We will not accept anything less than justice,” said the victim’s sister Marilou Laude.
Because no charges have been filed, U.S. officials have not confirmed the identity of the Marine, who is assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
“The Marine Corps 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,” Col. Brad Bartelt, spokesman with the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, said in a statement.
Three other Marines from the same unit have been identified as potential witnesses, the Marine Corps Times reported, citingan internal Navy memo on the case. The marine is being held aboard the USS Peleliu.