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Crime News Murders

"Amazing" Teacher's Burned Body Found in Car Trunk in Los Angeles Garage, Home's Owner is Charged with Murder

"Things will never be the same ever again," a brother of murder victim Veronica Aguilar wrote in an online fundraiser. "We miss her so much. She had the best spirit."

By Gina Salamone
Police Tape in Los Angeles

A Los Angeles man has been arrested after a woman's burned body was found in the trunk of a vehicle in his garage last week.

The victim has been identified as 27-year-old Veronica Aguilar by the County of Los Angeles Medical Examiner. Her cause of death is currently listed as "deferred," pending additional investigation.

Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department's Lancaster Station responded to a fire call regarding a structure on 38th St. West in Quartz Hill on December 20 at around 8:32 a.m.

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"The garage and its contents were on fire upon arrival of deputy and fire personnel," according to a December 22 release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "A burned female body was discovered in the trunk of a vehicle, in the garage, by firefighters."

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Aguilar was living in the Quartz Hill home of the suspect, according to the Los Angeles Times

Who killed Veronica Aguilar?

Authorities said that the owner of the residence where the body was found and the person of interest in this case at the time, Matthew Switalski, was tracked down on December 21 in Kern County, California. Homicide investigators then determined that Switalski was a suspect in the case, and he was arrested for murder and booked at Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.

"The investigation is ongoing, and currently, there is no additional information available," the sheriff's department stated.

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Switalsk, 37, is being held on a $10-million bond and was due in court Tuesday, inmate records from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department show.

Citing court records, the L.A. Times reported that Switalski was arrested this past spring and charged with several counts of rape and sexual misconduct involving a romantic partner. He was reportedly arraigned in June and released on bail.

Who was Veronica Aguilar?

Aguilar was an elementary school teacher, a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles "and an amazing person in all," according to a GoFundMe fundraiser launched by her brother to "give my sister Veronica the proper funeral she deserves."

The organizer, Juan Aguilar, further stated on the fundraising page: "My little sister Veronica was taken from us on December 20 2023." He added: "Her story is all over the news of her brutal death. Things will never be the same ever again. We miss her so much. She had the best spirit she always had a smile. My family is heartbroken. My sister Veronica was so smart."

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Neighbors of Switalski told Los Angeles-based station KTLA that Switalski used to work for Northrop Grumman and that he rented out multiple rooms of his house to employees of the aerospace and defense technology company.

One neighbor told the station that she heard a woman screaming early in the morning of December 20. "Around 2 a.m., I heard a blood-curdling scream,” the unidentified neighbor said. "I had just opened my window after I was finished with some work and when I went to go check, I didn’t hear it anymore."

Authorities are asking that anyone with info on the incident contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or visit the lacrimestoppers.org site.

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