The remains of a Los Angeles Fire Department firefighter were found in Mexico, authorities in that country told the department Wednesday, more than two months after he disappeared from his condominium near Rosarito.
Francisco “Frank” Aguilar, a 20-year veteran of the LAFD, had not communicated with family members since sending them a photo of the beach when he arrived in Rosarito on Aug. 20, his family told CBS2.
“This is a tragic outcome to a case we were hoping would end differently. 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,” LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he was “was deeply saddened to learn earlier today from Mexican authorities that LAFD Firefighter Frank Aguilar was killed after being kidnapped earlier this year.”
“This is a tragic loss for our entire city,” Garcetti said. “I grieve with Frank’s family and loved ones and his brothers and sisters at the fire department.”
Last month, authorities in Mexico arrested two people allegedly connected to the disappearance of Aguilar, who was assigned to Station 44 in Cypress Park.
The man and woman — only identified as Santos “N” and Fanny “N” — were arrested Oct. 8 on a highway near Rosarito Beach south of Tijuana, and authorities said believe they were the last two people to see Aguilar alive, according to Border Report, an online publication that covers news related to the U.S.- Mexico border.
The suspects allegedly had Aguilar’s credit card when they were arrested, which had recently been used in Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada.
Santos and Fanny were allegedly recorded by the condominium’s surveillance cameras on the night Aguilar went missing, according to Border Report.
Baja California Chief Prosecutor Hiram Sanchez said the female suspect arranged a date with Aguilar, and when he arrived in his SUV to meet her near Rosarito, the male suspect “jumped” him to try to kidnap him, according to the website, which is owned by Nexstar Media Group Inc., which owns, operates, programs or provides sales and other services to 197 television stations, including KTLA-TV Channel 5.
Blood was found in the vehicle, according to Border Report, and investigators believe Aguilar was likely shot as he tried to leave. The suspects reportedly denied meeting Aguilar.
Aguilar’s brother and cousin went to the condominium to check on him the day after he sent them the photo.
“They had found things moved around in his condo, doors were open, picture frames were moved, it was kind of a scene like people were looking for something and they discovered two vehicles were missing, a laptop and a few more items,” Aguilar’s daughter, Bella, told CBS2 in September. The family filed a missing persons report with Mexican authorities.
Aguilar owns a condominium in San Antonio Del Mar, which is between Tijuana and Rosarito, his brother Gabriel told the Daily News.