POMONA (CBSLA) – Two men were charged with murder Thursday in connection with the death of a 28-year-old part-time firefighter who went missing from West Covina.

Elijah Thomas Rouse, 18, of La Verne, and Shaun Cardarelli, 37, of San Gabriel, were both taken into custody Wednesday . They were scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 24 in a Pomona courtroom.

The murder charge includes the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a robbery, along with an allegation that both defendants used a knife in the commission of the crime.

Prosecutors are expected to decide whether to seek the death penalty against the two at a later date.

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.

Authorities raid an apartment in La Verne, Calif., in connection with the suspected murder of John Aguila. Aug. 27, 2019. (CBS2)

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.

At the scene of where human remains were found by firefighters in Upland, Calif. Aug. 23, 2019. (CBS2)

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.


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