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Man who disappeared while walking dog is found safe, LAPD says

CrimeCrime, Law and JusticeTheftLos Angeles Police DepartmentLos Angeles International Airport

The Los Angeles man who vanished while walking his dog Tuesday night was found at the Los Angeles Police Department's Pacific station Friday afternoon, police said.

Darwin Vela, 22, was last seen about 9 p.m. Tuesday when he left his home in the 2900 block of South Redondo Boulevard to walk his dog, police said. The 90-pound chocolate Labrador retriever came back alone, Vela's fiancee told the Los Angeles Times, and had blood on his leash.

Authorities had no immediate information about how Vela turned up at the station or his condition. Detectives are en route to talk to him, an LAPD spokeswoman said.

Vela had been scheduled to testify in a third-strike burglary case against a man accused of breaking into the home of actor Nicolas Cage's former girlfriend, officials confirmed.

LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said Friday that investigators were examining the blood and "looking at all possibilities" behind Vela's disappearance.

Officials confirmed that Vela and his fiancee, Kelly McLaren, were set to testify in a preliminary hearing Thursday in a case against Ricardo Orozco, who allegedly burglarized the home of Christina Fulton, Cage's former girlfriend, in April.

Orozco, with prior theft, robbery and sex-with-a-minor convictions, is facing a third strike in the burglary case and, if convicted, could face 25 years to life in prison.

A source described Vela and McLaren as key witnesses in the burglary case. 

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Twitter: @katemather | Google+

kate.mather@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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