Texas

Missing man's body found charred in Texas apartment — and cryptic images on his car

The body of Jared Vargas, 20, was identified Wednesday as the one found burned inside an apartment in San Antonio's North Side. His former coworker was charged with murder, arson and abusing a corpse.
The body of Jared Vargas, 20, was identified Wednesday as the one found burned inside an apartment in San Antonio's North Side. His former coworker was charged with murder, arson and abusing a corpse.

On Monday, 20-year-old Ernesto Esquivel-Garcia was arrested for murder, arson and defiling a corpse, according to jail records in San Antonio, Texas.

Authorities at the time didn't know whose remains were found smoldering in the North Side apartment that appeared to be vacant. But Jared Vargas' father feared the worst, according to KSAT.

Vargas, also 20, and a coworker of Esquivel-Garcia's, had been missing for three days at the time, WOAI reported. He didn't answer his family's calls over the weekend when they tried to make plans for Father's Day, and the last outgoing call on his cell phone records was to 911.

The body found in the apartment was so "badly burned," authorities told KABB that they could not immediately determine the gender, age or race of the victim.

On Wednesday the brutal truth was confirmed.

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Ernesto Esquivel-Garcia, 20, is charged with murder, arson and abusing a corpse. Bexar County Sheriff's Office

The Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Wednesday that Vargas' body was the one inside the apartment in the 7900 block of Jones Maltsberger Road.

But the mystery surrounding Vargas' disappearance and death still looms. For one, according to the San Antonio Express-News, the medical examiner has not confirmed how Vargas was killed before his body was burned, and police have remained tight-lipped about the case while the investigation continues.

But apartment renters at the same complex where Esquivel-Garcia lives and where Vargas' body was discovered told the newspaper that over the weekend, Esquivel-Garcia started taking his furniture and other belongings out of the apartment where the body would later be discovered, and taking them to a vacant unit one floor above.

Esquivel-Garcia is also being held at the Bexar County Jail on an immigration hold from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to jail records.

KABB reported that Vargas' car was found at the same apartment complex that his body was, but it appeared as if someone was trying to disguise it. The last digit of the license plate had been marked out using whiteout.

Vargas' relatives told the Express-News that they found cryptic drawings taped to the car's windows as well, including one of the eye of providence — a pyramid with an eye just above it — an ancient symbol later used by the Freemasons to represent the all-seeing eye of God. The drawings also included scribbled of Roman numerals and the phrase "Real Siempre."

A 911 caller reported finding a body burning in the woods off of 18th Street East in Bradenton on April 2, 2018. The Manatee County Sheriff's Office later identified the body as 50-year-old Veronica Polite.

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