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Two Men Arrested In Connection With Iraq Veteran's 2006 Murder

Jesse Aguilar (Photo via Facebook)
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Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murdering an Iraq veteran whose body was found in his own burning car in 2006. Anthony Silvas, 36, and Juan Vallejo, 40, have been charged with murder in the death of Jesse Aguilar. Aguilar was 24 at the time of his death on October 26, 2006. His body was found inside his car, which had been set on fire, in the Los Angeles Riverbed beneath the Firestone Avenue Bridge in South Gate, according to Fox 11.

Aguilar was from Rowland Heights, and served in the Army, the SGV Tribune reports. He spent time in Iraq and had been back in the U.S. for under two years, according to his mother, Nancy Aguilar. He also had two daughters, who are now 9 and 14 years old. At the time of his death, he was employed at the Automobile Club of Southern California in Costa Mesa. He went to work there on October 25, but never returned home.

"He went to war and came back in one piece, and I was so thankful," Nancy Aguilar told the SGV Tribune.

Silvas had been a person of interest in Aguilar's murder for several years, though Vallejo had only recently caught investigators' attention in the last few months. Silvas lived in South Whittier at the time of the murder, but was in jail in Orange County on drug-related charges at the time he was charged in Aguilar's murder. Vallejo was living in La Mirada at the time of the murder, and was arrested last week at his Hawaiian Gardens home.

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Detective Ray Lugo of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide Bureau said that Vallejo and Silvas were friends with each other and acquaintances to Aguilar. Investigators believe Aguilar was killed over a financial disagreement.