A California man whose alleged carjacking of a van led to the death of one of the four children inside has been charged with murder, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced in a news release on Wednesday..
Jose Elias Aguilar, 26, of Los Angeles, has been charged with ten counts, including murder and corporal injury to a child, as well as four counts each of carjacking and kidnapping during the commission of a carjacking.
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On July 5, Aguilar allegedly jumped into a van with four children, ages 8, 10, 13 and 17, while the parents went inside to pick up food at a Pico Rivera restaurant, prosecutors said.
Before Aguilar began to drive away with the vehicle, the 17-year-old daughter and the 10-year-old son allegedly managed to jump out and sustained minor injuries.
The 8-year-old boy and the 13-year-old girl, meanwhile, remained in the car when Aguilar drove away. Due to Aguilar’s erratic driving, which reached up to speeds of 50 mph, both children were later ejected from the vehicle
The 8-year-old boy sustained serious injuries and was taken to the hospital, prosecutors said, while the 13-year-old girl, died at the scene.
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Aguilar eventually crashed and then carjacked a second vehicle with a woman and a 2-year-old inside. The driver of that vehicle managed to jump back in the car and fought Aguilar until they crashed.
Aguilar is also facing carjacking charges for that incident.
While attempting to escape, Aguilar was detained by “good Samaritans” who held him until police arrived, prosecutors said.
Aguilar is being held without bail. If convicted, he faces a possible maximum sentence of death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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A GoFundMe page has been started for the funeral and memorial of the girl who was killed in the crash. As of Thursday morning, the page has raised more than $31,000.
The page’s description reads that the girl “was the light of the house” and “now she is up in heaven looking down on us and taking care of us.”