American Tourist Killed in La Perla, Puerto Rico, Named As Tariq Quadir Loat

The burned body of a U.S. citizen from Delaware has been found in Puerto Rico, three days after he went missing in the popular seaside district of San Juan.

The body was identified as 24-year-old tourist Tariq Quadir Loat, a resident of Wilmington, on Tuesday, multiple news outlets have reported.

Loat had gone missing three days earlier when he and a friend, James Jackson, were attacked after buying drugs in the shantytown of La Perla, according to news agency AP.

Police Commissioner Antonio Lopez Figueroa reportedly said that the pair had purchased unspecified drugs on Saturday.

The body was identified as 24-year-old tourist Tariq Quadir Loat, from Wilmington, Delaware. Puerto Rico Police

They were then trying to take photographs on an area in La Perla after people told them not to and a dispute broke out. Loat and Jackson were beaten up with items including an exercise weight, a piece of wood and a deep fryer, police added.

Jackson managed to flee the scene and was hospitalized for his injuries, but Loat disappeared.

Police said his body was found on Sunday in Vega Baja, a town about 20 miles west of San Juan. The body had been burned and was later identified as Loat by his fingerprints.

The attackers have yet to be identified, police added.

Relatives of Loat, including his six months pregnant partner, arrived in Puerto Rico ahead of the body's identification, according to Prima Hora.

The newspaper reported that Loat and Jackson were travelling in a 2020 Nissan Rouge bus at around 6 p.m. on Sunday when they got out to take photos and videos.

But they were then surrounded by a group of people who told them that they could not take photos because this could attract police to the area, Prima Hora reported.

Tensions heightened with a heated discussion which turned physical, seeing five vehicles colliding during the chaos, the newspaper added.

The Caribbean island, which has a population of 3.3 million, rarely sees tourists being killed. A 29-year-old man from Denver, Colorado was the last tourist to be reported killed on the island in February 2020.

A decade ago, the island saw a record number of killings while La Perla, which is s considered the island's biggest heroin distribution point, was historically a slum controlled by rival drug gangs.

However, this reputation has faded in recent years after the music video for the 2017 song "Despacito" by Puerto Rican singers Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee was filmed in the town.

La Perla has become an increasingly popular hotspot for tourists since criminal activity in the town was greatly reduced following a raid by federal agents in 2011.