SACRAMENTO, CA – In a tragic incident that has shocked a California community, a 27-year-old elementary school teacher, Veronica Aguilar, was found dead under harrowing circumstances. Her body was discovered in the trunk of a car, burned beyond recognition, in a garage in Quartz Hill, a suburb approximately 65 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. This grim discovery was made by firefighters responding to a house fire in the early hours of a Wednesday morning.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported receiving a call about a fire at a residence on the 41400 block of 38th Street West. Upon arrival, emergency personnel found the garage and its contents ablaze. It was during the firefighting efforts that Aguilar’s body was found in the vehicle’s trunk. The county medical examiner’s office has yet to release an official cause and manner of death.
The homeowner, 37-year-old Matthew Switalski, was identified as a suspect. Switalski, who was apprehended in Kern County, about 90 miles northwest of Quartz Hill, has been arrested and charged with murder. He is currently held on a $10 million bail. Records indicate that Switalski was previously arraigned in June and released on $600,000 bail for charges related to rape and sexual misconduct with a romantic partner. However, the victim in that case was not identified.
The nature of the relationship between Aguilar and Switalski remains unclear. Neighbors have speculated that Switalski, a former employee of weapons manufacturer Northrop Grumman who rented out rooms in his home, might have been Aguilar’s boyfriend. Switalski’s home was known to house company employees.
A neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, recounted to a local news channel the chilling moment they heard a “blood-curdling scream” around 2 a.m. on the day of the incident. The neighbor described opening their window after finishing some work and hearing the scream, but the noise had ceased upon checking.
The community is reeling from the loss of Aguilar, remembered for her vibrant spirit and dedication to teaching. Her brother, Juan Aguilar, in a GoFundMe campaign set up to cover funeral expenses, expressed the family’s profound grief. He described his sister as an intelligent, kind-hearted individual, a UCLA graduate who was deeply loved and will be greatly missed.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau is actively investigating the case and has encouraged anyone with information about the incident to come forward. They have provided options for anonymous tips through “Crime Stoppers” and other channels.
This tragic event has left a community in mourning and raised serious concerns about safety and violence. As the investigation continues, many are hoping for justice and answers in the untimely and tragic death of Veronica Aguilar.