Francisco Aguilar, a 48-year-old firefighter and paramedic with the Los Angeles Fire Department, was first reported missing on August 20

By Gabrielle Chung
November 04, 2020 09:04 PM
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Francisco Aguilar
Francisco Aguilar
| Credit: courtesy

The body of a Los Angeles County firefighter who authorities believe was kidnapped this summer has been found, bringing a tragic end to a two-month-long search.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Fire Department confirmed that human remains recently discovered in Mexico has been identified as belonging to Francisco Aguilar, a 48-year-old firefighter and paramedic who was first reported missing on August 20.

"This is a tragic outcome to a case we were hoping to end differently," LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said in a statement. "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."

The firefighter's family reported him missing after he failed to check in with them while visiting his condo in Rosarito, Mexico, PEOPLE previously reported.

Aguilar's family said that he regularly visits his condo in Mexico and always stays in close contact during those trips. When they did not hear from him, some relatives went to the condo to check on him — only to discover that the place had been left in shambles.

"The condo was ransacked, tables were overturned. It was a crazy, crazy episode," Aguilar's daughter Bella previously told ABC 7 News. "Vehicles were missing, items were missing. It was devastating to hear... It was so heartbreaking to hear."

In a press conference in September, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said that Aguilar had likely been a victim of a "violent kidnapping."

"I want to say very clearly to anybody who would kidnap a member of our fire department that this is a member not just of our city government family, but of our community here in Los Angeles," Garcetti said, according to CBS Los Angeles.

Francisco Aguilar
Francisco Aguilar
| Credit: FBI

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A spokeswoman for the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office previously told PEOPLE that they were in contact with authorities in Mexico regarding Aguilar.

"The FBI routinely offers assistance to our Mexican counterparts who have jurisdiction over an alleged crime that occurs in Mexico," the spokeswoman said. "The FBI will continue to offer assistance and provide resources as requested by our Mexican law enforcement partners."

Authorities in Baja California confirmed in October that they had arrested two people — identified only as 32-year-old Fanny N. and 27-year-old Santos N. — in connection to Aguilar's case, KABC reported.

Investigators said the couple were found in possession of bank cards issued in Aguilar's name that had been used after his disappearance, according to the outlet. They believe Fanny N. lured Aguilar into meeting for a date and Santos N. helped in kidnapping him.

"The victim agreed to meet with a woman we know today is called Fanny 'N'. She identified herself to Aguilar as Monserrat," Baja California Attorney General Hiram Sanchez said at the time, according to NBC Los Angeles. "He somehow managed to get rid of his captors, tried to run, and as he ran they shoot and injure him and put him in the van."

Aguilar had been a member of the LAFD for 20 years and was assigned to Cypress Park's Station 44, the Los Angeles Times previously reported.