Who is Francisco Aguilar, LA veteran firefighter who has probably been kidnapped in Mexico?
Baja California head prosecutor Hiram Sanchez revealed earlier that investigators had found evidence of a violent crime
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a press conference on Wednesday, September 2 that a firefighter who went missing nearly two weeks ago was possibly the victim of a "violent kidnapping" in Mexico. Family members of 48-year-old Francisco Aguilar first reported him missing on August 20 after he failed to check in with them while visiting his Rosarito, Mexico condominium, People reported.
Garcetti said authorities believe the father-of-two has been kidnapped and that the city will "work tirelessly" to ensure he is returned home safely, per CBS Los Angeles. "I want to say very clearly to anybody who would kidnap a member of our fire department that this is a member not just of our city government family, but of our community here in Los Angeles," Garcetti said at the briefing. "We will work tirelessly to make sure that Frank is returned safely," he added.
Baja California head prosecutor Hiram Sanchez revealed earlier on September 2 that investigators had found evidence of a violent crime. "We are working with technical personnel to establish his last instance when his freedom was taken," Sanchez said, according to KRQE. "We have found a lot of evidence that leads us to believe this was an act of violence, nevertheless we have not determined for sure this is what happened to him."
Last week, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office said the agency was coordinating with Mexican authorities regarding Aguilar. "The FBI routinely offers assistance to our Mexican counterparts who have jurisdiction over an alleged crime that occurs in Mexico," the spokeswoman said. "The FBI will continue to offer assistance and provide resources as requested by our Mexican law enforcement partners."
What we know about Francisco Aguilar
According to the Los Angeles Times, Aguilar is a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department who served in the Army before becoming a firefighter at Cypress Park's Station 44. A family member previously said Aguilar rents out his condo in Mexico via an independent rental company, and that he would head south when the condo isn't rented to spend a weekend or a few days there.
His family also revealed that the condo had a Ring camera and that they hoped the manufacturer would cooperate with law enforcement about footage it may have captured. According to The Border Report, Baja California’s top prosecutor Sanchez said surveillance cameras had recorded people inside the condo before Aguilar was "forcibly taken."
Speaking to ABC7 News last week, Aguilar's daughter Bella said his condo had been "ransacked" and that quite a few things were missing from the property when the family went to check in on him. "It's a nightmare, for sure," Aguilar's daughter Amaris added at the time. Aguilar’s brother and cousin further revealed how tables were overturned and his vehicles were also missing from the property.
“We were on FaceTime the other day and he was on the beach and just talking to about how it was so much fun and this was a little taste of what retirement would be like for him,” Amaris recalled. “I just pray with every fiber in my being that my father returns to us.”
“My dad is my best friend; he’s literally my entire world and heart,” she added. “Please give my father back, no questions asked.”