The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department discovered a body after dousing a fire at a home in Lancaster on Wednesday, December 20th.
The body was found hidden in the trunk of a car that was in the burning home.
The body has now been identified as Veronica Aguilar, 27, of Lancaster California.
A suspect has been arrested – 37-year-old Matthew Ziwalski who has been fingered as an ex-girlfriend of Veronica.
Veronica Aguilar body discovered
Veronica Aguilar is a 27-year-old UCLA graduate and elementary school teacher.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department arrested Matthew Switalski, 37, for murder after they found Aguilar’s body in the trunk of a burned car in Lancaster.
The authorities said Switalski owned the home where they discovered the victim, Veronica Aguilar, 27.
Neighbors said the two used to date.
A fire broke out at a home in the 41400 block of 38th Street West on Dec. 20 around 8:30 a.m. Emergency crews rushed to the scene.
Firefighters saw heavy smoke and fire in the garage. They found two burned vehicles inside with Aguilar’s body in the trunk of one of them, LASD said. They declared the woman dead at the scene.
No one else was in the home at the time. The video from the scene showed the fire badly damaged the garage and parts of the home.
The authorities later found Switalski in Kern County and arrested him for murder.
The news shocked the residents in the peaceful neighborhood. One neighbor said to KTLA she heard a woman scream in the early morning.
“Around 2 a.m., I heard a blood-curdling scream,” recalled a neighbor, who did not wish to be identified. “I had just opened my window after I was finished with some work and when I went to go check, I didn’t hear it anymore.”
Neighbors told KTLA that Switalski was previously employed by Northrop Grumman and reportedly rented out several rooms of his house to Northup Grumman employees.
The events leading up to Aguilar’s death remain unclear as authorities continue investigating the case.
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Anyone with information is asked to call the LASD’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be provided to “Crime Stoppers” at 800-222-8477 or online at lacrimestoppers.org.
Veronica Aguilar Lancaster GoFundMe
A GoFundMe was started to raise money for the family of Veronica Aguilar Lancaster.
“I am asking for help on behalf of my family and myself to help my family in this darkes of time. My little sister Veronica was taken from us on December 20 2023 her story is all over the news of her brutal death,” the elder brother of Veronica, Juan Aguilar, wrote.
“Things will never be the same ever again. We miss her so much. She had the best spirit she always had a smile. My family is heartbroken.
“My sister Veronica was so smart. She was an elementary school teacher, a UCLA graduate, and an amazing person in all. With your help, we can give my sister Veronica the proper funeral she deserves. Thank you all,”
The fundraiser has currently raised nearly all of its $20,000 target.
Who is Matthew Switalski?
Matthew Switalski is being held in lieu of $10 million bail, according to court records. Jail records show he was previously arrested in May for an unspecified felony.
According to an investigation by a crime buff on Facebook, Matthew Switalski previous charges included r*ape and alleged domestic assault.
Coffee, Crime and Wine wrote: “Matthew Switalski (37) arrested on homicide charges by the Lancaster Sheriff Department. The suspect was arrested in Kern County.
“He’s arrested in connection to a woman’s body who was found charred in the trunk of her car around Wednesday morning in LA county around Quartz Hill.
“The woman was identified as a 27 year old elementary school teacher who could be heard screaming before an explosion according to her neighbors.
“She was reported missing by her school and family when she did not show up for work, and her family noted she was in a relationship for about a year but they do not know much about the man.
“She taught elementary in Palmdale.
“In custody and held at 2 million dollars bond. He was previously out on bond of 600,000 for rape and other alleged crimes. Co-workers have said Matt opened up to them about multiple mental health issues (what those are, is unclear to protect those involved) , but none saw what was coming, as it was way out of character.
“Switalski has not worked with them since May, time frame is uncertain if he was let go or quit before or after his charges he was on bond for.
“Supposedly the defendants father sold his home in order to get his son released on bond for the previous charges. Names are unknown and not published at this time to protect all those involved.
“A member of the Coffee, Crime & Wine admin team worked with suspect, stay tuned for what she knows! All identities will be kept confidential for the time being until law enforcement or our sources say otherwise!
“This is still an ongoing investigation, please respect all families and parties involved at this time. We will update you when we know more!
“Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500 or by calling anonymously at (800) 222-8477,”
Lancaster is a charter city in northern Los Angeles County, in the Antelope Valley of the western Mojave Desert in Southern California.
As of the 2020 census, the population was 173,516, making Lancaster the 153rd largest city in the United States and the 30th largest in California.
Lancaster is a twin city with its southern neighbor Palmdale; together, they are the principal cities within the Antelope Valley region.
Lancaster is located approximately 70 miles (110 km) north (via I-5 and SR 14) of downtown Los Angeles and is near the Kern County line.
It is separated from the Los Angeles Basin by the San Gabriel Mountains to the south and from Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley by the Tehachapi Mountains to the north.
The population of Lancaster has grown from 37,000 at the time of its incorporation in 1977 to over 157,000 as of 2019.
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