2 Men on ‘Meth Binge’ Arrested in Death of Girl at Campground

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Two men were arrested Tuesday after searchers found the body of a 17-year-old Simi Valley girl submerged in a stream near Rock Creek Campground in the Sierra National Forest, authorities said.


Search and rescue team searches for 17-year-old Tara Shannon Maguire. (Credit: Madera County Sheriff’s Office)

Scott Jacob Mason, 20, of Simi Valley, CA and Jacob Patrick Banaga, 18, of Visalia were booked Tuesday on suspicion of willful cruelty to a child.

Their bail was set at $10,000.

The men were arrested just hours after the body of Tara Shannon Maguire was located roughly an hour’s drive north of North Fork, according to a news release from the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.


Scott Jacob Mason, 20, of Simi Valley and Jacob Patrick Banaga, 18, of Visalia. (Credit: Madera County Sheriff’s Department)

The investigation began Monday when sheriff’s deputies received a call from a stranded motorist who claimed he had run out of gas over the weekend. He told deputies his party was without food and water, the release stated.

Deputies and search and rescue volunteers caught up with Banaga and Mason who informed them that Maguire, who was traveling with the pair, had vanished 24 hours prior.

Searchers located her body at a campground near Mammoth Pool Reservoir which is known for its jagged peaks and numerous lakes and streams.


Tara Maguire, 17. (Credit: The Cult Leader @_alexwilsonnn)

Detectives questioned Mason and Banaga, who admitted being meth users.

“Both were reportedly on a multiday meth binge before Tara died,” according to the release. “The events leading up to her alleged disappearance and death remain under investigation.”

No further details were released.

An autopsy was still pending.