Police in the Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic are investigating the brutal double homicide of two transgender women, reports the Spanish news agency EFE.

Eduardo Padilla, 23, and Ramon Martinez, 26, were brutally tortured before being killed in the northern city of Santiago, Central Cibao Police District spokesman Col. Jesus Cordero Paredes said.

The police spokesman said one of the victims was stabbed 40 times, severely beaten in the genitals, arms and face and her eyes were torn out.

The second victim was found bound, stuffed in a bag with her legs broken. She also was stabbed and burned, Cordero Paredes said.

The spokesman said the pair were tortured in a “cruel” fashion. Two suspects are in custody; men the victims' relatives identified as “friends.”

Violence against transgender people has become increasingly common in Santiago, a conservative city, EFE reports.