WEST COVINA (CBSLA) — Two men have been charged with murdering a firefighter from West Covina whose burned body is believed to have been found in Upland last week.
Elijah Thomas Rouse, 18, of La Verne and Shaun Cardarelli, 37, 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.
”You have to have feelings for the victim and their family because that takes a toll for everyone involved,” says Cpl. Rudy Lopez with the West Covina Police Department.
CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Rachel Kim said Aguila’s family members didn’t want to comment on the arrest of the two men police say are responsible for his disappearance and death.
She did talk to stunned neighbors.
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“I think this is just absolutely terrible. The whole day I was thinking oh, please don’t let the incident in Upland be him, please,” said Alexander Ngo.
Aguila went missing on Thursday. After he didn’t show up for work as a part-time firefighter with the Bureau of Land Management, a search began.
Investigators now believe he was murdered and his body may have been found.
“The incident that we’re investigating is connected to a body that was found burned in the city of Upland,” said Lopez.
On Friday, a body was found near Euclid and Mountain Avenue, in the San Antonio Heights neighborhood. Police say the body was burned so badly, it was unrecognizable. The same day, investigators located Aguila’s Honda Civic in San Dimas.
Security video shows a man abandoning the car in a residential neighborhood then walking away. Police say inside the trunk, they found gloves, bloody clothes and fingerprints.
They said the fingerprints led them to a La Verne apartment complex on Tuesday. Now, detectives want to know what the motive was.
“I hope that the people that were responsible for this get what they deserve,” said Ngo.