$5M Bail Set In Aurora Teen's Beating Death

Body of Abigail Villalpando, 18, found beaten and burned in a wooden area of Montgomery, police said

Monday, Feb 4, 2013  |  Updated 7:18 PM CDT
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Juan Garnica Jr. was charged Sunday with first-degree murder and one count of arson in the murder of 18-year-old Abigail Villalpando. Christian Farr spoke with the victim's brother and best friend.

Juan Garnica Jr. was charged Sunday with first-degree murder and one count of arson in the murder of 18-year-old Abigail Villalpando. Christian Farr spoke with the victim's brother and best friend.

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Bail was set at $5 million Monday for an 18-year-old Aurora man accused of beating a woman with a hammer then setting her on fire.

Juan Garnica Jr., 18, was charged Sunday with first-degree murder and one count of arson in the murder of 18-year-old Abigail Villalpando whose body was found "burned beyond recognition" Saturday morning in a wooded area in Montgomery.

Two other west suburban men also were charged in Garnica's death. Enrique Prado, 19, of Aurora was ordered held on $100,000, and 20-year-old Jose Becerra of Oswego is due in court Monday afternoon.

Villalpando was reported missing around 2:30 a.m. Friday after she failed to show up for work Thursday afternoon at an Aurora Denny's. Police said she was last seen by a family member at 1 p.m. Thursday when she left home for work. An employee called Villalpando’s home at around 5 p.m. saying she never showed up.

Her empty car was found Friday morning fully engulfed in flames underneath the High Street Bridge over the Burlington Northern Rail Road Tracks.

During their investigation of Villalpando disappearance, detectives learned Villalpando went to visit Garnica and Prado at Prado’s home after leaving her home for work. During the meeting Garnica allegedly hit Villalpando several times in the head with a hammer after Prado left the room. 

The preliminary cause of Villalpando’s death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head. 

The girl’s body was then stuffed into a tote-type container, police said, and allegedly hidden in Prado’s garage. Garnica allegedly drove Villalpando’s car to High Street Bridge over the Burlington Northern Rail Road Tracks and on Friday morning he allegedly torched the vehicle.

Villalpando’s body was burned in a barrel in the backyard, police said, and Becerra allegedly was enlisted to help dump the body.

Garnica and Prado were questioned by police around 3 p.m. Friday and taken into custody.  Becerra was taken into custody Saturday at his home.  
 
Garnica was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson. Prado was charged with a count of arson and concealment of a homicide, and Becerra was charged with one count of concealment of a homicide. 

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