Fil-Am firefighter robbed, killed in West Covina, Calif.
WEST COVINA, California – Police arrested two men for murder in connection with the disappearance of a Filipino American firefighter from West Covina.
John Brian Mananghaya Aguila, 28, was killed during a robbery, and his remains were apparently burned, authorities said.
Elijah Rouse, 18, Shaun Cardarelli, 36, each face one count of murder along with special circumstance allegations of murder during a robbery, and that they used a knife in the killing, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The two suspects appeared Thursday in a Pomona courtroom, where their arraignments were continued to Sept. 24.
Rouse and Cardarelli face the possibility of the death penalty or a life in prison without parole if convicted. Prosecutors will decide at a later date whether to seek capital punishment.
The two are suspected of killing 28-year-old John Brian Mananghaya Aguila on Aug. 22, the same day he disappeared, prosecutors said.
He was last seen leaving his girlfriend’s house in La Puente around 4:30 p.m., according to the West Covina Police Department.
Aguila was reported missing after he failed to return home and never showed up to his job as a part-time firefighter for the Bureau of Land Management.
Evidence recovered during a SWAT team search of Rouse’s residence in La Verne on Tuesday morning led investigators to believe that Aguila’s disappearance is connected to a burned body found in Upland last Friday. Police have not positively identified the body.
Aguila’s white 2017 Honda Civic was found abandoned in a residential area of San Dimas one day after he vanished. His car was searched, and gloves and bloody clothes were found in the trunk, police said.
Investigators later found a surveillance video that captured a man who is not Aguila walking away from the Honda.
Police have not confirmed whether that man is one of the two suspects.