Disappearance of Pinoy firefighter in California treated as homicide

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 29 2019 07:17 AM

West Covina Police Department

CALIFORNIA, United States—US authorities are investigating the disappearance of a Pinoy firefighter in West Covina, California as a homicide.

The police arrested on Tuesday 2 men in connection with the disappearance of 28-year-old John Brian Mananghaya Aguila.

West Covina Police Department spokesperson Rudy Lopez said Elijah Thomas Rouse, 18, and Shaun Cardarelli, 37, are held in suspicion of murder and on $1 million bail.

Aguila was last seen by his family on August 22 and has not reported to work or returned home since.

"The family said this conduct is very uncharacteristic of him," Lopez said in a statement.

CBS Los Angeles reported that the victim worked as a part-time firefighter with the Bureau of Land Management.

Lopez said investigators located Aguila's white 2017 Honda Civic in San Dimas City, where gloves and clothes with blood were found inside the car's trunk.

They also located surveillance footage showing a man leaving from the car and walking away from it.

The video led the West Covina police to the house of Rouse in the 1400 block of Third Street, La Verne, where a search warrant was served by a Swat team.

Lopez said the evidence connected to the search warrant led investigators to believe the case could be connected to a burned body found in Upland City, San Bernardino County.

"The ongoing investigation and the evidence connected to the search warrant served at the residence yesterday have led West Covina Detectives to believe our missing persons case may be connected to the body discovered burned at the fire that occurred in the City of Upland being handled by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department," he said.

Police have not yet provided a motive into the case while the coroner has yet to identify the charred remains.

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—With report from Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News