The remains of Los Angeles firefighter Francisco “Frank” Aguilar, who went missing in Mexico in August, have been found after a monthslong investigation, officials announced Wednesday.
The Baja California central state prosecutor said the badly burned body was found on Oct. 23 in a desolate field in Rosarito, according to Border Report, an online news source from KTLA parent company Nexstar. Officials were only able to confirm the identity Wednesday using forensic DNA testing.
It’s unclear what led authorities to the location of the body.
Aguilar, a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department, had gone to Rosarito to check on a condo his family rents out when he disappeared. The 48-year-old traveled alone and was only planning for the trip to last a few days.
“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,” said Chief Ralph Terrazas of the Los Angeles Fire Department. “This is a tragic outcome to a case we were hoping would end differently.”
Two people were arrested in October along a highway near Rosarito Beach, south of Tijuana, in connection to Aguilar’s disappearance. The couple that was arrested, identified only as Santos “N” and Fanny “N,” both Mexican nationals, were the last two people seen with Aguilar, according to Baja California’s head prosecutor Hiram Sanchez.
The two allegedly had Aguilar’s credit card with them when they were arrested, according to Border Report. They were also recorded by surveillance cameras at Aguilar’s condo the night he went missing.
The woman had set a date to meet with Aguilar near Rosarito, Sanchez said, and that’s when the man is believed to have “jumped” him to try and kidnap him. Blood was found at the scene and evidence indicated Aguilar had been shot, according to Sanchez.
The couple, who denied knowing or ever meeting Aguilar, was facing forced disappearance and theft charges.
Aguilar’s family had been praying for his safe return for months. One of his daughters, Amaris Aguilar, previously told KTLA that she and her sister Bella had a very close relationship with their father and usually spoke to him every day.
“My dad is actually my best friend,” she said. “He’s my rock, and he’s been there through everything in me and my sister’s life.”