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Arrests made in connection with missing Southern California firefighter

Nearly two months after Frank Aguilar went missing in Mexico, his family is holding out hope that he is still alive.

BAJA CALIFORNIA, Tijuana — Mexican authorities arrested two people allegedly connected to the August disappearance of a Los Angeles Fire Department firefighter in Baja California, Mexico, it was reported today.

The man and woman -- only identified as Santos "N" and Fanny "N" -- were arrested on a highway near Rosarito Beach south of Tijuana, and authorities believe they were the last two people to see Francisco "Frank" Aguilar, according to Border Report. They allegedly had his credit card when they were arrested, and the card had recently been used in Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada.

“We completely hope that we find answers from these people but we are disgusted in these people," said Aguilar's daughter Bella.

Aguilar, a 20-year veteran of the LAFD, disappeared Aug. 20 from his condominium near Rosarito and has not communicated with family members since.

"He's never gone more than a day without contacting and making sure that he's ok to his family," said his daughter Amaris.

Santos and Fanny were allegedly recorded by the condo's surveillance cameras on the night Aguilar went missing, according to Border Report.

Chief Prosecutor Hiram Sanchez said that the female suspect arranged a date with Aguilar, and when he arrived in his SUV to meet her near Rosarito, the male suspect "jumped" him to try to kidnap him, according to Border Report.

Blood was found in the vehicle, according to Border Report, and investigators believe Aguilar was likely shot as he tried to leave. The suspects deny meeting Aguilar, and authorities will continue to search for him as if he is alive.

Aguilar sent his family a photo of the beach when he arrived in Rosarito, but that was the last time they heard from him, CBS2 reported. His brother and cousin went to the condo to check on him the next day.

"They had found things moved around in his condo, doors were open, picture frames were moved, it was kind of a scene like people were looking for something and they discovered two vehicles were missing, a laptop and a few more items," Aguilar's daughter, Bella, told CBS2 in September. The family filed a missing persons report with Mexican authorities.

Garcetti announced during his COVID-19 briefing on Sept. 2 that Aguilar may have been the victim of a violent kidnapping.

"I want to say very clearly to anybody who would kidnap a member of our fire department that this is a member of not just of our city, government, family, but of our community here in Los Angeles," Garcetti said.

"We will work tirelessly to make sure that Frank is returned safely," Garcetti said. "This is somebody who has put his life on the line for us, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that law enforcement in Mexico has whatever support it needs."

"To me, it was a big step," Frank Aguilar's first cousin, Nancy, told News 8. She did not want to use her last name out of fear for her family's safety. 

She said that while it may take a miracle, her family's faith is strong hat Frank will return to them.

"We have hope and we do have faith that we are going to find him, alive and back home," she added. 

"They haven’t said where my dad is yet, they’re not saying a lot right now," Frank's daughter Bella Aguilar said.

"We will not stop until we find out where you are," she added, "We will not rest, the only thing our mind is to find you, what to do next, we are fighting just like you taught us.” 

The FBI has offered assistance to Mexican law enforcement authorities, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told City News Service in August.

Aguilar owns a condominium in San Antonio Del Mar, which is between Tijuana and Rosarito, his brother Gabriel told the Daily News.

"It's just shocking because we associate Rosarito with the family, a safe vacation spot and just to hear those words come from Mayor Garcetti was just very surreal," Bella said.

LAFD spokesman Peter Sanders told reporters that the department is cooperating in the search for Aguilar, who is assigned to Station 44 in Cypress Park.

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