Vigil held as family pleads for safe return of L.A. firefighter who vanished in Mexico

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Family members and colleagues gathered for a vigil Monday to pray for the safe return of a Los Angeles firefighter and Army veteran who disappeared last week in Mexico.

Frank Aguilar’s two daughters, who were at Monday’s event in their hometown of Montebello, say they haven’t heard from their dad since Thursday, when he arrived in Rosarito to check on a condo the family rents out as an Airbnb.

The 48-year-old traveled alone and was only planning for the trip to last a few days. His family says Mexican authorities now suspect foul play, after the condo was ransacked and two vehicles were taken from the property.

“We’re receiving the worst information, and we don’t know how to respond,” said daughter Bella Aguilar. “We don’t know what to do, since it’s in another country. It’s nerve-racking. Our heart is breaking every day.”

The FBI said it is assisting in the investigation but has declined to provide further details.

The daughters say investigators are working to obtain surveillance footage from a Ring camera on the property.  

“I just pray with every fiber of my being that my father returns to us,” Amaris Aguilar said.

Amaris Aguilar said she and her sister have a very close relationship with their father and usually speak with him every day.

“My dad is actually my best friend,” she said. “He’s my rock, and he’s been there through everything in me and my sister’s life.”

Aguilar has been a firefighter and paramedic with the L.A. Fire Department for 20 years. Some of his firefighting colleagues came to lend their support Monday night.

“Everybody in the department that knows him is heartbroken and confused,” firefighter Frank Barraza told KTLA.

Bella Aguilar said her family is appreciative of the “tremendous” amount of support they’ve received from the firefighting and military communities.

For now, the family is holding on to every last bit of hope.

“Hopefully this reaches him and makes him feel safe, and [it can] maybe provide answers soon,” Amaris Aguilar said of Monday’s event.

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