City News Service

2 Arrested on Murder Charges in Connection With Missing Firefighter After Bloody Clothes Found in Car

A search of the vehicle revealed gloves and clothing with blood on it in the trunk, police said.

Two men were arrested on suspicion of murder after a 28-year-old firefighter who lives in West Covina disappeared, authorities said Wednesday.

Police Tuesday detained three people after finding gloves and bloody clothes in the trunk of the firefighter's car. John Brian Mananghaya Aguila had been missing since Thursday, Aug. 22. 

Elijah Thomas Rouse, 18, of La Verne, and Shaun Cardarelli, 37, of San Gabriel, were arrested, with bail set at $1 million each, West Covina police said Wednesday at a news conference. 

Evidence discovered Tuesday after police served a search warrant led investigators to believe a body found burning in Upland may be connected to Aguila's missing persons case. The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department discovered the body, but had yet to identify the remains. 

Aguila's family reported his disappearance to police Saturday after they had not heard from him since Thursday afternoon, according to West Covina Police Department spokesman Rudy Lopez.

Aguila had not reported for work or returned home, behavior the family described as uncharacteristic, Lopez said.

"During the investigation, it was learned that on Friday ... the missing's white 2017 Honda Civic had been located and impounded in the city of San Dimas," Lopez said. "Investigators located video surveillance that showed a male leaving from the car and walking away from it. It was determined that this subject was not the missing person."

A search of the vehicle revealed gloves and clothing with blood on it in the trunk, Lopez said.

"Evidence collected allowed West Covina PD investigators to identify the male seen leaving the missing's vehicle," Lopez said.

Just after 8:30 a.m., SWAT officers served a search warrant at a home in the 1400 block of Third Street in La Verne and detained three people pending further investigation, one of them the man who abandoned the vehicle. His fingerprints were found in the Honda, Lopez said.

"The missing person was not located," Lopez said.

Anyone with information about Aguila and what might have happened to him was urged to call police at 626-939-8557. Anonymous tips can be left on a message line at 626-939-8688.

City News Service contributed to this report. 

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