LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A missing man who did not return from walking his dog was found safe Friday.
Darwin Vela, 22, has been missing since Tuesday night, when he left with his chocolate Labrador, named Cocoa, for a walk. Cocoa returned with a bloody leash, but there was no sign of Vela.
Police said Vela was found about 1:30 p.m. Friday in LAPD’s Pacific Division. In a statement, they wrote “Investigators are now going through the process of determining what happened to him.”
“He left his phone, his wallet, his keys, all IDs, I mean, his passport is here,” Vela’s fiancée Kelly McLaren said.
On Thursday, both McLaren and Vela were scheduled to testify in a burglary case.
“I can’t discuss the case itself, but we were witnesses to a crime,” McLaren said. “And without us, there is no case.”
TMZ has reported that the case involves a suspect by the name of Ricardo Orozco, who is charged with receiving stolen property and one count of burglary. Orozco is accused of breaking into the home of Nicolas Cage’s ex-girlfriend and stealing items including an alleged sex tape with actor Charlie Sheen.
“As far as any correlation or anything like that, I – it’s not true, and there’s no further comment about it,” McLaren said. “It’s just ridiculous.”
KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen spoke to Vela’s mother who also discounted the sex tape story.
“That’s not the truth. I don’t think that. No, no, no,” said Maritza Vela.
McLaren also would not say if Vela and Orozco are friends or acquaintances.
Darwin Vela is trained in Russian martial arts and McLaren says she is confident it would have taken at least one large person or a couple of people to force him away.
Twenty minutes after Vela left with Cocoa, McLaren said she found the dog at the front door without him.
“There was Cocoa, our 90-pound Labrador, and who is very sweet, but doesn’t cry,” McLaren said. “And he was hunched over, he was crying, his tail between his legs.”
McLaren said she instantly thought the worst – and then she found what she believed was blood on Cocoa’s leash. The blood has been subsequently tested positively as human blood, and authorities are planning to take a DNA sample from Vela’s mother to determine whether it is indeed Vela’s blood.
Friday evening, Vela is apparently telling people he was, in fact, kidnapped. The LAPD told Nguyen they couldn’t confirm the allegation.