WEST COVINA (CBSLA) — Two men have been arrested in the death of a firefighter from West Covina whose burned body is believed to have been found in Upland last week.
Eighteen-year-old Elijah Thomas Rouse of La Verne and 37-year-old Shaun Cardarelli of San Gabriel were booked on suspicion of murder in the killing of 28-year-old John Brian Mananghaya Aguila, West Covina police reported Wednesday.
In the early morning hours of Aug. 23, burned human remains were found in the San Antonio Heights neighborhood of Upland after firefighters responded to a vegetation fire.
The following day, on Aug. 24, Aguila’s family contacted authorities to report that he had not been heard from since the afternoon of Aug. 22 and did not show up to his job as a part-time firefighter with the Bureau of Land Management.
Investigators then learned that Aguila’s 2017 Honda Civic had been found and impounded in the city of San Dimas. Investigators also discovered surveillance video showing a man, not Aguila, driving the car into a San Dimas neighborhood, leaving it behind and walking away.
Gloves and blood-covered clothing were discovered inside of the Honda by investigators, along with fingerprints of a man that led police to an address in La Verne. On Tuesday morning, West Covina police SWAT raided an apartment in the 1400 block of Third Street in La Verne, where they detained three people.
On Wednesday, police confirmed that they believe the body discovered in Upland may belong to Aguila. However, an autopsy is pending to confirm the identity.
Police have not provided a motive in Aguila’s slaying or explained his possible relationship to the suspects.
Rouse and Cararelli are each being held on $1 million bail. Both are scheduled to be arraigned in a Pomona courtroom on Thursday.