The burned remains of a missing Los Angeles firefighter have been identified through DNA tests.
The body of Frank Aguilar, 48, a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department whose disappearance on August 20 triggered investigations by both the FBI and Mexican authorities, was identified through forensic DNA testing, according to Baja California Attorney General Hiram Sánchez. The remains were found October 23 in a remote field 50 kilometers south of the Tijuana–San Diego border.
Two suspects, identified only as Santos “N” and Fanny “N,” were arrested in connection with the case on October 8 after they were found in possession of Aguilar’s credit cards, which had been used for purchases in Ensenada, Rosarito and Tijuana.
Aguilar was last heard from in late August when he went to check on a northern Baja condominium property he owned in San Antonio del Mar, near Rosarito.
According to Sánchez, Fanny “N” had had repeated interactions with Aguilar. He said the woman had arranged to meet Aguilar near a club in Rosarito and that when the firefighter arrived, another vehicle blocked Aguilar’s path. Aguilar reportedly exited his SUV and tried to run away but was shot.
In September, Mexican investigators said they had found signs of violence in Aguilar’s home and that surveillance cameras had picked up images of people on Aguilar’s property. They also said at the time that witnesses had reported seeing the firefighter in a bar with people that prosecutors said were likely responsible for his disappearance.
The arrested pair continue to deny any involvement in Aguilar’s death.
“We are looking at the evidence, and we’re trying to figure out if we have enough to charge the suspects with both Aguilar’s disappearance and his murder,” Sánchez recently told the newspaper Border Report. “We know on that day, August 20, when they tried to kidnap him, Frank tried to escape, and because of it he lost his life.”