A desperate, two month long search for a missing Los Angeles firefighter has come to a heartbreaking conclusion. The body of Francisco “Frank” Aguilar has been found burned and dumped in Mexico, 2 months after he first disappeared.
Family Reports Aguilar Missing in August
In late August, Aguilar was visiting his condo in Rosarito, Mexico. Family has said that he often spent time there, but would check in with them. After a period of time elapsed during which his family heard nothing, they decided to check in with him and some family members dropped by his condo. When they arrived, the place was in shambles and Aguilar was nowhere to be found. They officially reported him missing in August 20th.
Police Suspected Kidnapping
Because of the state of the condo, police immediately suspected that Aguilar had been kidnapped. Per People, “‘The condo was ransacked, tables were overturned. It was a crazy, crazy episode,’ Aguilar’s daughter Bella previously told ABC 7 News. ‘Vehicles were missing, items were missing. It was devastating to hear… It was so heartbreaking to hear.’
In a press conference in September, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said that Aguilar had likely been a victim of a ‘violent kidnapping.’
‘I want to say very clearly to anybody who would kidnap a member of our fire department that this is a member not just of our city government family, but of our community here in Los Angeles,’ Garcetti said, according to CBS Los Angeles.'”
Authorities in Los Angeles worked closely with Mexican authorities with the hope that they could locate Aguilar alive and safe.
Couple Arrested In Connection with Aguilar’s Disappearance
CBS News reports that a couple was arrested in connection with Aguilar’s disappearance. Per CBS, “Last month two Mexican nationals, a 32-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man, were arrested on a highway near Rosarito Beach, south of Tijuana. Authorities said they had some of Aguilar’s belongings in their possession, including credit cards that had been used in Rosarito, Ensenada and Tijuana after his disappearance.
They will be charged with homicide, Sánchez said.
According the investigation, a woman Aguilar knew, identified as Fanny ‘N,’ lured him to a meeting in order to kidnap the firefighter and hold him for ransom, Sánchez said.
When he arrived at the meeting place, a van intercepted him and Aguilar tried to flee before a man, identified as Santos ‘N,’ shot him, Sánchez said.
It wasn’t clear whether the shot killed Aguilar, but he died at some point during the crime and the couple cremated his body in Playas de Rosarito, Sánchez said.”
Body Found, Family Heartbroken
After Aguilar’s body was found and identified, his family’s worst nightmare came true. Although they feared the worst, they held out hope up until the moment his body was positively identified.
The Los Angeles community mourns with 48-year-old Aguilar’s family. Per People, “‘This is a tragic outcome to a case we were hoping to end differently,’ LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said in a statement. ‘On behalf of the men and women of the LAFD, we send our deepest condolences to Firefighter Aguilar’s family and we stand ready to assist them in the days to come.'”