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Missing witness in celebrity burglary case arrested

Darwin Vela, 22, is seen in this undated file photo.
November 26, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The 22-year-old key witness in a celebrity burglary case, who went missing for three days leaving behind his dog and a bloody leash, has been arrested.

Police arrested Darwin Vela and his fiancee Kelly McLaren on Monday.

Vela was last seen Nov. 19 around 9 p.m. when he left his home in the West Adams District of Los Angeles to walk his dog. McLaren said about 20 minutes later, the black Labrador came back without him, dragging a bloody leash.

Police found Vela around 1:15 p.m. Nov. 22, two blocks away from the LAPD's Pacific Division station. He was bruised, scraped and covered in red marks.

Vela claims he was attacked while he was walking his dog. He says he ran away when one attacker pulled out a gun, and that he hid for three days.

According to authorities, Vela was not able to give a specific description of his attackers, except that they wore dark clothing and left in a dark car. Officials said he also told different versions of what happened during hours of questioning by detectives.

Vela missed a court appearance on Nov. 21. He was scheduled to testify as a witness in a criminal case against Ricardo Orozco, who is charged with burglarizing the home of Christina Fulton, Nicolas Cage's ex-girlfriend.

Police say Vela and McLaren are also suspects in the incident.

The burglary occurred on Aug. 25, and Orozco was arrested on Oct. 23. Orozco is being held on $1 million bail because of allegations of a three-strike crime. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 15.

According to police, Vela and McLaren met with an attorney for Charlie Sheen and claimed to have a sex tape of the actor. Investigators are looking into whether the supposed tape was the target of the burglary.

Prosecutors say there is no evidence it exists.

Police are investigating the claims. Anyone with information was urged to contact police at (877) LAPD-24-7.


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