Missing Fontana man's body found inside burned car; $10K reward offered to find killer


The car was found parked in Flores Park in the 1000 block of West Etiwanda Avenue at about 10 p.m. Friday. The black Nissan Versa was found torched with a body inside. The San Bernardino County Coroner's Office confirmed the body is that of 40-year-old Alejandro Padilla.

"Please, come forward. Even if it might be the slightest thing that you can think of, please just come forward," said Liliana, Padilla's wife.

Padilla had been missing since Friday morning, when investigators believe he was assaulted and kidnapped from his driveway.

Police said they received calls about someone yelling for help in the 6800 block of Beechcraft Avenue around 5 a.m. Friday.

When police arrived on scene, they found a broken bat and blood spattered on the driveway and smeared on the side of the house. Padilla and his black Nissan Versa were gone.

One of the victim's co-workers, Johnny Bravo, said it looked like Padilla was jumped as he was getting into his car. He said there was body damage to another car in the driveway, skid marks in the grass and a bloody shirt left in the street. He also said Padilla's computer and phone were left strewn on the driveway.

A memorial of candles and flowers now marks the spot in front of Padilla's home.

"I'm at a loss for words," said Liliana. "I don't know who could be capable of doing something like this, so horrifying."

Padilla and his family just moved into the home a month ago and say they have no idea who would want to hurt the 40-year-old.

Investigators say the motive remains a mystery.

"This could be anything. It could be a case of mistaken identity, they got the wrong person," said Fontana police Lt. William Megenney. "It could be that they were looking for Mr. Padilla and specifically waited for him. They knew his habits, they knew that he went to work at a certain time."

Thanks to donations from family and friends, Padilla's family is now offering a $10,000 reward. They say all they want is justice.

"He doesn't deserve this," said Emily, Padilla's daughter. "Nobody deserves this. Nobody loving and caring deserves this. I know that if you were in my position you would want to find who killed your father."

Padilla's closest friend described him as the life of the party, always the first to pick up a microphone and get the crowd going.

"He was everything to me and my sister," said Danielle, Padilla's daughter. "He loved us so much. He would do anything for us and my mom. He always spoiled us."

Padilla's brother described him as a hard worker who was saving up to buy his own house.

"As far as him being involved in something else, that's out of the question," he said.

The family is asking the public for help with burial costs.

A donation fund has been set up at www.gofundme.com/Alex-Padilla.

The coroner's office is working to issue a final cause of death. Investigators do not know whether Padilla died before the fire or during the fire.

Anyone with information about this case was urged to contact Fontana police at (909) 350-7700.

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