Suspects arrested in disappearance of West Covina man believed killed and burned


Two men have been arrested in connection with the disappearance and death of a West Covina man, authorities said.

Elijah Thomas Rouse, 18, of La Verne and Shaun Cardarelli, 37, of San Gabriel were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of killing 28-year-old John Brian Mananghaya Aguila, according to the the West Covina Police Department.

“Things we found inside the home suggest there was foul play there,” said Cpl. Rudy Lopez, a spokesman for West Covina police. “We are waiting for the San Bernardino County coroner to identify the body.”

The cause of death is unknown, Lopez said. Police also have not cited a potential motive.

Aguila was last seen Thursday in La Puente when he was visiting his girlfriend, Lopez said. His girlfriend told investigators that she believed he was headed home that evening.


Sarah Webster, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management, said Aguila didn’t report to work Friday. He had been employed as a seasonal firefighter since June.

Detectives believe Aguila was attacked and fatally injured at his home, Lopez said. His body was probably dumped and burned in Upland near Euclid and Mountain avenues before 3:30 a.m. Friday, police said. The injuries initially made it difficult for police to identify the body, he said.

On Friday, police learned Aguila’s white 2017 Honda Civic had been impounded in San Dimas. Surveillance video from a home in that neighborhood showed a man parking the car and walking away, police said. In the trunk, detectives found gloves and bloody clothes.

Fingerprints on the car led them to a La Verne residence, where the two suspects and a woman were detained for questioning Tuesday. The woman, a girlfriend of one of the suspects, was released.

On social media, Aguila’s family members have been pleading for the public to come forward for any information about his disappearance and death. Family members could not be reached for comment or declined to be interviewed Wednesday.

Rouse and Cardarelli are being held in lieu of $1 million bond and will appear in court Thursday, according to inmate records.