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Two individuals have been arrested in the suspected slaying of a missing Los Angeles firefighter whose scorched remains were found in Mexico, officials said this week.
A couple, identified only as Fanny N., 32, and Santos N., 27, are accused of kidnapping and later killing the veteran L.A. firefighter, who has been missing since August, according to the newspaper.
“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 at a press briefing in Mexico this week.
Aguilar, who had a property in Mexico and reportedly visited regularly, was allegedly lured into having a sexual encounter with Fanny in Rosarito, officials said.
"The victim agreed to meet with a woman we know today is called Fanny 'N,'" Zamora said, NBC affiliate KNSD reported. “She identified herself to Aguilar as Monserrat. He somehow managed to get rid of his captors, tried to run, and as he ran they shot and injured him, and put him in the van."
The couple is also accused of burning his body in Tijuana.
Aguilar’s burnt remains were recovered on Oct. 23, according to the Los Angeles Times. His credit card, as well as other belongings, were recovered during the arrest of the pair of suspected kidnappers. Aguilar’s family was notified of his death this week.
Los Angeles’ mayor, Eric Garcetti, had previously said Aguilar was likely the victim of a “violent kidnapping.”
“I was deeply saddened to learn from Mexican authorities that LAFD firefighter Frank Aguilar was killed after being kidnapped earlier this year,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told Oxygen.com in a statement on Thursday. “This is a tragic loss for our entire city. I grieve with Frank’s family and loved ones, and his brothers and sisters at the Fire Department.”
The 48-year-old’s family first reported Aguilar missing in late August after finding his home in Mexico had allegedly been burglarized.
"The condo was ransacked, tables were overturned,” Bella Aguilar, the missing firefighter’s daughter, told ABC affiliate KABC-TV. “It was a crazy, crazy episode. Vehicles were missing, items were missing.”
Investigators are now probing whether organized crime played a role in Aguilar’s killing and if his death could also be connected to a separate suspected kidnapping of a farmer in the Rosarito area in September, according to KSND.
Mexican authorities are now overseeing the firefighter’s murder investigation; however a number of U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are monitoring the situation.
“Our Mexican law enforcement counterparts in Baja, California, Mexico are leading the investigation into the disappearance and death of Firefighter Aguilar,” Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, told Oxygen.com. “The FBI has and will continue to provide assistance to the case as requested by our Mexican partners.”
Aguilar, a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department, was assigned to Fire Station 44 in the city’s Cypress Park neighborhood, officials said.
“Our Department was notified this afternoon that authorities in Mexico determined that human remains recently found there are those of LAFD Firefighter/Paramedic Francisco Aguilar,” Los Angeles City Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said in a statement. “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.”
A spokesperson for the department said a memorial service celebrating Aguilar’s life is in the works.
“The Department will work with the family in the coming days and weeks to determine plans for a memorial service honoring his life and career,” Peter Sanders, a public information officer for the Los Angeles Fire Department, told Oxygen.com.
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