Missing LAFD firefighter found dead in Mexico
Francisco Aguilar, the 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department who went missing in Mexico in August, was killed in Rosarito by kidnappers, Mexican authorities said Wednesday afternoon.
Authorities in Baja California said two people have been arrested in connection with his death, a couple they identified only as Fanny and Santos.
According to the Fiscalia General del Estado de Baja California, Aguilar met with the woman, Fanny, on Aug. 20 for a sexual encounter in Rosarito. Instead, she and Santos attempted to kidnap him, officials said.
“Things didn’t turn out like they thought they would,” Hiram Sanchez Zamora, an official with the Fiscalia General del Estado de Baja California, said during a Wednesday media briefing in Mexico.
The couple are accused of killing Aguilar and taking his body to Boulevard 2000 in Tijuana, a highway that connects Tijuana and Rosarito, where they burned the body, he said. Officials found the burned body on Oct. 23 and Aguilar’s family was notified of his death on Wednesday.
“This is a tragic outcome to a case we were hoping would end differently,” said Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas in an emailed 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.”
The LAFD and the FBI, which had been assisting Mexican authorities in the search for Aguilar, both referred questions to Mexican authorities.
According to family members, Aguilar visited the area frequently and had been in contact with them through WhatsApp and FaceTime. But he suddenly stopped communicating with them, the family told KCAL-TV, Channel 9. When relatives went to his condo, they found his vehicle gone and his home ransacked.
“We were on FaceTime the other day, and he was on the beach and just talking ... about how it was so much fun and this was a little taste of what retirement would be like for him,” his daughter Amaris told the station in August. “I just pray with every fiber in my being that my father returns to us.”
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