Mexican authorities believe missing LAFD firefighter could have been shot during kidnapping attempt
Mexican authorities believe that a missing Los Angeles Fire Department firefighter may have been shot during a kidnapping attempt in August and they continue to search for him after last week arresting a man and woman in the case, according to officials in Mexico.
On Thursday night, the two Mexican nationals were arrested near Rosarito Beach, south of Tijuana, Hiram Sanchez, central prosecutor of the Attorney General’s Office of Baja California announced Friday during a press conference. The woman was identified as 32-year-old Fanny “N” and the man is 27-year-old Santos “N.” Mexican authorities did not disclose their last names.
The veteran firefighter, Francisco “Frank” Aguilar, 48, was still considered missing and authorities said, Sanchez said. Aguilar, who was an LAFD firefighter for about 20 years, worked out of Station 44, part of the Central Bureau.
Aguilar’s family last heard from him on the evening of Aug. 20 when he communicated with his uncle via WhatsApp to say he was meeting a woman. Earlier that day, he’d left his Rancho Cucamonga home to the condominium he owns in San Antonio del Mar, according to his brother.
Authorities believe when the woman met up with Aguilar, her male companion also showed up and jumped him. Aguilar managed to free himself and tried to run but authorities believe he was shot and taken in a vehicle by the suspects.
When his family couldn’t reach him by phone they went to Mexico the next day to look for him and found drawers open and items moved inside his condo. Aguilar’s car and a dirt bike were gone. Those have still not been found, authorities said.
Mexican authorities said they will continue to look for Aguilar as if he’s alive, though they said blood spots were found near the scene where he was supposed to have met up with the woman, who gave him a fake name. People in the area also reported to have heard gunshots, Sanchez said, adding that forensic investigators believe it is Aguilar’s blood.
When they were arrested, the man and woman had Aguilar’s bank cards, which were shown to have been used in the days following his disappearance in Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada.
Sanchez said the two, who face charges of forced disappearance and theft, denied knowing Aguilar or his whereabouts.