Teen girl's death ruled suspicious, meth binge may be to blame, investigators say

Suspects: 18-year-old Jacob Banaga of Visalia (top) - 20-year-old Scott Mason of Simi Valley (bottom) (Madera County Sheriff's Department)
December 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The body of a 17-year-old girl from Simi-Valley was recovered from a stream by Madera County Search and Rescue Volunteers and two men now face felony charges.

The Madera County Sheriff's Office said the body of Tara Maguire was found in a stream near Rock Creek Campground in the Sierra National Forest late Monday night. The campground is located in an area near Mammoth Pool Reservoir and the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

The sheriff's office said they received a call around noon on Monday from a man who said his group was stranded without gas, food and water. Around 4:30 p.m., deputies and search and rescue volunteers found the two men, and learned that a 17-year-old female who was traveling with them had been missing for about 24 hours.

Search and Rescue Volunteers found the girl's body late Monday night and were able to recover the body on Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, detectives questioned the two men -- 18-year-old Jacob Banaga of Visalia and 20-year-old Scott Mason of Simi Valley -- who investigators say both admitted to smoking methamphetamine regularly. Detectives said they were reportedly on a multi-day meth binge before Tara died.

Both men were arrested on suspicion of willful cruelty to a child. Their bail was set at $10,000.

The sheriff's office said the events leading up to Maguir's alleged disappearance and death remain under investigation. An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, but the results are not expected until after the New Year.


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