Pictured above: Christian Aguilar disappeared on September 20, 2012 and was located deceased a couple weeks later.

Pictured below: Pedro Bravo, the last known person to see Aguilar alive has pleaded not guilty to his murder.

Christian Aguilar (top) an 18-year-old Student who attended University of Florida has been missing since Thursday, September 20th, 2012.

Updated: 10/20/12 Miami, FL — Pedro Bravo will plead NOT guilty to murdering Christian Aguliar:

GAINESVILLE (CBSMiami/AP) — Despite overwhelming evidence, a public defender says 18-year-old Pedro Bravo will plead not guilty to a first-degree murder charge in the death of Doral Academy graduate and UF student Christian Aguilar.

Court records show that the family of Pedro Bravo has requested a public defender to represent the 18-year-old. Public Defender Stacy Scott said Friday that her office planned to file the not-guilty plea on Bravo’s behalf.

Aguilar was last seen in a Gainesville Best Buy with Bravo. Aguilar’s remains were found last week in rural Levy County.

Police say Bravo originally told them that he beat Aguilar unconscious and left him in a parking lot.

Bravo’s previous lawyer tells The Gainesville Sun that Bravo’s family doesn’t have the money to hire a private attorney for a potentially lengthy trial.

Source: miami.cbslocal

 

Previous updates below.

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Updated: 10/15/12 Miami, FL — Remain’s found in Levy County ARE Christian Aguilar:

The remains found in Levy County have been positively identified as missing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar, the Gainesville Police said Monday.

Police said the positive identification on the remains of the 18-year-old University of Florida student was made through dental records. Additional forensic testing will be performed to determine the manner of death and to document any trauma wounds.

“The Aguilar family has been notified of the positive identification,” the police said in an email statement.

Meanwhile, a memorial service for missing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar was planned for Monday night in Gainesville.

PHOTOS: Christian Aguilar Case

Aguilar’s family has been involved in the planning of the service to held at 7 p.m. at St. Augustine Catholic Church, which holds about 900 people. Several people were expected to talk about the teen during the service, and there will be reception afterwards in the Catholic Student Center.

The service will be held in Spanish and English and there will be a candlelight ceremony as well. It is open to the public.The Gainesville Police Department on Saturday said they assisted the Levy County Sheriff’s Office after the body was discovered, but the identity of the remains has not been confirmed.

The remains were found around 2:30 p.m. Friday by hunters at the Gulf Hammock Hunting Club, east of Cedar Key, according to the Gainesville Sun. Gainesville Police, in Alachua County, said they responded to the area, located off State Road 24 on Parker Boulevard, at the request of the Levy County Sheriff’s Office. Gainesville is about 60 miles northeast of the area where the body was found.

The remains were found six miles off paved road with blue Vans shoes, duct tape and blue jeans, according to reports.

“It looked like somebody tried to bury it, unsuccessfully,’’ The Miami Herald reported Fred Oliver, a volunteer with the sheriff’s office, as saying. “They saw the skull, realized it was face down, and they realized it was not an animal.’’

“They’re almost sure they know who it is,” Oliver was quoted as saying.

The student’s father, Carlos Aguilar was in Gainesville with the police on Saturday.

“I just want to make sure that everybody knows that our prayers have been heard. We, as a family believe that Christian has been found, but we will wait until the authorities confirm it,” said his father Carlos Aguilar during a news conference in Gainesville on Saturday.

The 18-year-old was last seen Sept. 20 with Pedro Bravo, his friend and former classmate, at a Gainesville Best Buy, authorities said.

“While some people still hoped to find Christian alive, the unfortunate reality is going to sink in,” Gainesville Police spokesman Ben Tobias told the Gainesville Sun. “I’m glad the family is finally going to get some closure.”

Police arrested and initially charged Bravo, also 18, with depriving a crime victim of medical care, but he was later charged with murder after police say they found blood in Bravo’s SUV and found Aguilar’s backpack hidden inside a suitcase in Bravo’s closet.

Police also said Bravo bought a shovel and roll of duct tape days before the student vanished.

On Thursday, a vigil led by Father Luis A. Rivero of St. Thomas University was held at Carlow Park in Sweetwater.

Volunteers from around the state had helped in the effort to find Aguilar, and on Twitter, people used #HelpFindChris as a hashtag. There was also a Facebook page set up and dedicated to the search.

                                  Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

Source: NBCMiami

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Updated: 10/14/12 Miami, FL — Parent’s say remains found in Levy County ARE missing UF Student:  

Although investigators have yet to say definitively, the family of missing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar said the remains found Friday are their son.

The 18-year-old has not been seen since late September.

After all the anxiety and all the man hours of searching, the Aguilar family feels like they’re one step closer to peace.

“We, as a family, believe that Christian has been found,” said Carlos Aguilar, Christian’s father. “But, we will wait until the authorities confirm it.”

They took the podium Saturday at UF for a brief press conference.

Gainesville police officers were there in support, but didn’t answer any questions.

Aguilar delivered a message in both English and Spanish, while his wife clung to his side and broke down with emotion.

“Our family is going to be grieving,” Aguilar said.

The break in the case came Friday afternoon in Levy County.

Hunters stumbled upon remains at the Gulf Hammock Hunting Club and called police.

Gainesville detectives assisted, and after a short time, alerted the Aguilar family.

Positive identification of the remains cannot be made until forensic processing is complete, but they wanted them to know just in case.

It was the news family and friends feared, but expected as time went on.

They thanked everyone who’s worked day and night to find Christian alive, despite the odds.

For now in the short term, they’ll look ahead and heal the best way possible.

“If it wasn’t for the prayer, if it wasn’t for the support, if it wasn’t for the angels that came through, and that they care about my family and they care about a missing student that is now part of this society,” Aguilar said.

Christian was last seen at a store with high school friend Pedro Bravo. Bravo previously said the two had a fight and he left the 18-year-old in a parking lot. He’s been charged with first-degree murder.

Again, there has been no confirmation on the identity of these remains.

Source: cfnews13

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Updated: 10/13/12 Miami, FL — Remain’s found likely to be Missing University Of Florida Student:

Authorities said a body, likely the remains of missing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar, was found in Levy County by hunters.

Christian disappeared less then a month ago on Thursday, September 20th, 2012.

The Gainesville Police Department on Saturday said they were assisting the Levy County Sheriff’s Office after the body was discovered, but the identity of the remains has not been confirmed.

The body was found around 2:30 p.m. Friday by hunters at the Gulf Hammock Hunting Club, according to the Gainesville Sun. Gainesville Police, in Alachua County, said they responded to the area, located off State Road 24 on Parker Boulevard, at the request of the Levy County Sheriff’s Office. Gainesville is about 60 miles northeast of the area where the body was found.

PHOTOS: The Christian Aguilar Case

“Two young fellas were looking for firewood by themselves,” Fred Oliver, a volunteer with the sheriff’s office, was reported as saying. “They picked up the scent, the odor of something dead.”

The student’s father, Carlos Aguilar, is traveling from Miami Saturday to meet with investigators.

The 18-year-old was last seen Sept. 20. with Pedro Bravo, his friend and former classmate, at a Gainesville Best Buy, authorities said.

“The police tell me they have a body that matches Christian,” he was quoted as saying by the Herald. “I am just going to see if this is my son.”

“While some people still hoped to find Christian alive, the unfortunate reality is going to sink in,” Gainesville Police spokesman Ben Tobias was quoted as saying by Gainesville Sun. “I’m glad the family is finally going to get some closure.”

Oliver said told the newspaper the men had thought it was a deer’s body, but he said it was obviously human.

Blue Vans shoes, duct tape and blue jeans were found with the body, the Gainesville Sun reported the authorities as saying.

The newspaper said that even though the clothes match what Aguilar was wearing when he went missing, the remains still must be identified through testing, according to a source.

“They’re almost sure they know who it is,” Oliver was quoted as saying.

Police arrested and initially charged Bravo, also 18, with depriving a crime victim of medical care, but he was charged with murder after police say they found blood in Bravo’s SUV and found Aguilar’s backpack hidden inside a suitcase in Bravo’s closet.

Police also said Bravo bought a shovel and roll of duct tape days before the student vanished.

VIDEO: Pedro Bravo Charged With Christian Aguilar’s Murder: Gainesville Police

On Thursday, a vigil led by Father Luis A. Rivero of St. Thomas University was held at Carlow Park in Sweetwater.

Volunteers from around the state had helped in the effort to find Aguilar and on Twitter people used #HelpFindChris as a hashtag and there was also a Facebook page set up and dedicated to the search. Police recently changed the search from rescue to recovery.

But during the extensive search,  two of Agular’s relatives were having trouble getting visas to leave Colombia and join the family in the United States.

Sen. Marco Rubio’s office says two of Aguilar’s aunts have been trying to secure humanitarian travel visas but were denied. His office has been trying to assist them.

The visas were denied on grounds that the women failed to present strong enough ties to Colombia. Both have pending green card applications.

VIDEO: Sweetwater Officials Join Search for UF Teen

                     Source: NBCMiami

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Updated: 09/29/12 – Miami, FL – Blood Found In Pedro Bravo’s SUV:

Blood was found in the sports utility vehicle of Pedro Bravo, the  man accused of murdering a missing University of Florida student,  Gainesville Police said Saturday.

The Florida Department of law enforcement said it will rush test  the blood in the vehicle and compare it with DNA samples of  Christian Aguilar. Authorities said they also discovered  Aguilar’s backpack hidden inside of a suitcase in Bravo’s closet.

Also on Saturday, UF scientists confirmed that limerock residue  was also found in the vehicle, leaving Gainesvlle Police to  believe Aguilar is located near areas of limerock.

Bravo, the friend and former classmate of Aguilar, was held in  jail without bond Saturday for first-degree premeditated murder.  Police say Bravo changed his story after being confronted with  evidence.

Bravo was charged for the alleged crime Friday, although he was  first arrested on Monday for depriving a crime victim of medical  care. Neither Aguilar nor a body has been discovered, according  to Gainesville Police.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was scheduled to help search for the  student on Saturday, according to officials. Along with other volunteers, Scott planned to search for three  hours in the wooded area near 5700 SW 34 St. in Gainesville.

Back in South Florida, a donation station for the Aguilar family  is scheduled between 1 and 4 p.m. at the Sweetwater City Hall.

“We just need to raise money so we can keep the family up there  and help with any expenses that they need,” said Jenina Valdes,  who said she graduated with Aguilar.

She also spoke to NBC 6 South Florida about the new charge  against Bravo.

“There are so many rumors going around, but again, both Pedro and  Christian were very good friends, they were very good people, and  for this to happen, I mean, this broke our hearts completely,”  she said.

The family of the missing teenager asked for water, snacks,  machetes and rubber boots. It also requested volunteers.

“The search has not stopped in any way and we need more  volunteers,” said Michelle LaPiana, who has a daughter in  Gainesville assisting in the search. “It’s not going to stop  until we recover Chris Aguilar for his parents.”

Aguilar has been missing for more than one week. Numerous police  agencies and volunteers have spent day after day searching woods  and other areas around Gainesville for signs of Aguilar, 18, with  little to show for their efforts.

On Wednesday, Gainesville Police said Bravo bought a shovel and  roll of duct tape “several days” before the disappearance.

Source: msnbc

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Update: 09/27/12 Miami, FL – Pedro Bravo’s Roommate Says He Last Saw Him on Night Christian Aguilar Disappeared:

A Gainesville roommate of Pedro Bravo – the teen charged in connection with the disappearance of University of Florida freshman Christian Aguilar – says he last saw Bravo on the night Aguilar vanished.

Roberto Finnale said he hasn’t had contact with Bravo, 18, for the past six days.

“The last time I saw him was on Thursday, the night that everything unraveled. It was around 8 to 10 p.m.,” Finnale told NBC 6 South Florida.

He said he was in the kitchen of their Gainesville apartment as Bravo was on his way out.

“I heard a sole pair of footsteps, and out of instinct, I say, ‘Hey, how’re you doing,’ and it was Pedro’s voice that said, ‘I’m doing all right,’” Finnale said. “And it was very nonchalant, but within a couple of minutes, like five minutes later, he was already out the door. He seemed like he was in a rush.”

Bravo remained in custody Wednesday on $100,000 bond on a charge of depriving a crime victim of medical care related to Aguilar’s disappearance.

VIDEO: Doral Academy Holds Vigil For Missing UF Teen

Gainesville Police said Wednesday that Bravo, who was a classmate of Aguilar’s at Doral Academy Preparatory High School, bought a shovel and roll of duct tape several days before Aguilar disappeared. A massive search is underway for Aguilar in Gainesville.

When Finnale moved to his Gainesville apartment, he needed roommates, and he says his complex hooked him up with another roommate and Bravo. “He was quiet, and he was a little secluded, and yeah, he kept to himself for the most part, but he seemed like a very nice guy,” Finnale said.

He said it was a shock when he learned that his roommate was named a person of interest in the Aguilar case. “I hope that everything turns out, that everything turns out all right,” Finnale said.

Source: NBCMiami

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Earlier Update: 09/25/12 Miami, FL: Friend of Missing UF Student arrested as search continues…

The family of a missing University of Florida freshman from South Florida say they’re holding out hope he’ll be found safe as police continued to search for him Tuesday.

Christian Aguilar, 18, has been missing since Thursday, and authorities suspect foul play. On Monday, Gainesville Police arrested Aguilar’s classmate, 18-year-old Pedro Bravo, on a charge of depriving a crime victim of medical care, a third-degree felony.

Bravo appeared in bond court Tuesday where he was ordered held on $100,000 bond by Alachua County Judge Thomas Jaworski. He will have to wear an ankle monitor and won’t be allowed to leave the country if he posts the bond.

PHOTOS: The Christian Aguilar Case

Members of Aguilar’s family and Bravo’s parents attended the hearing, where Aguilar’s mother pleaded with Bravo for more information.

“Pedro, we ask directly to you, to give us one clue, one address, any place where he may remember where my son could be, no more,” Claudia Aguilar said.

Gainesville Police say Bravo told investigators he was involved in an altercation with Aguilar on Thursday, and on Monday released a surveillance photo of the two together from the day of the disappearance.

After Tuesday’s hearing, Bravo’s attorney, Larry Turner, said his client is very concerned about Aguilar and said Bravo’s parents have offered to join in the search.

“These are two best friends, best friends get into fights just like brothers and sisters get into fights,” Turner said. “We’re hoping that Christian is alive and well and that he will be found in good health. The family is praying for that, they’ve offered to assist.”

Police have been searching for Aguilar since Friday, and have been joined by several friends, teachers and family members, but so far haven’t found him.

The search had also spread to social media. A Facebook page called Find Christian Aguilar was set up and the hashtag #HelpFindChris was being used on Twitter.

On Tuesday, Gainseville Police a shoe was found in the area of 1100 NE 53rd Ave., but it does not appear to be the same type worn by Aguilar on the day of his disappearance.

Authorities also said his cellphone is no longer active.

In a statement released Tuesday, Gainesville Police said a command post has been established at Forest Park at Southwest 43rd Street and Southwest 20th Avenue. Several search warrants have been executed in relation to the case and investigators are plotting a timeline of when Aguilar was last seen, police said.

“I’m exhausted right now, but right now I got more faith,” Aguilar’s father, Carlos, told NBC 6 late Monday night. “That’s what keeps me going. I think anyone right now would be already giving up but I got hope and faith and that’s what’s keeping me going.”

Father of Missing UF Teen Asks for Help in Search

Carlos Aguilar said he would continue to search for his son on Tuesday with the help of friends and family members who traveled to Gainesville from South Florida to help.

“All these people are coming so far away to support him, to look for him, to search for him, tell you the caliber of human being he is and the family that is behind him,” Carlos Aguilar said.

Police have said Christian Aguilar, a graduate of Doral Academy Preparatory High School, may be disorientated and or seriously injured and unable to seek medical attention.

“My son always kept in communication with us, he never passed a lot of hours without talking to us,” Carlos Aguilar said. “It’s not normal, that’s the reason we’re concerned.”

Alexander Aguilar, Christian’s brother, said he spoke to him on Wednesday, the day before he went missing.

“Words cannot describe how bad this feels, the uncertainty of knowing whether or not he’s fine, where he is, it’s killing all of us right now,” Alexander Aguilar said. Chris was never like this, is never like this, he would always call, always keep in touch with my parents.”

In a statement, police said Bravo “was held for mental examination under Florida’s Baker Act on Friday after making comments to investigators that he wanted to harm or kill himself.”

Bravo has given police at least three different versions of what occurred, authorities said.

Police said Tuesday that since Bravo has retained an attorney, they can’t speak with him.

“I assure you any help that can be given will be given,” Turner told reporters Tuesday.

Bravo and Aguilar both graduated from Doral Academy last spring. A girl who also attended the school came between them, senior Roger Sanchez said Monday.

“They had been dating for two years prior, Pedro and this girl. And after that they had broken up and I guess Christian began dating her,” Sanchez said. “Pedro had driven back from FIU up to Gainesville to get back with her and it turns out he found out that they were basically – his best friend was dating his ex-girlfriend. That’s what led to the whole dilemma.”

That girl was identified as Erika Friman. She told NBC 6 South Florida that her ex-boyfriend knew their relationship was over.

“The whole case, I don’t think it had anything to do with me,” she said.

Friman joined the group of volunteers to help with the search.

“I believe he’s alive,” she said. “I’m not going to think otherwise until we have evidence.”

On Tuesday, friend Sebastian Arias, who traveled from South Florida to Gainesville to join in the search, said he wasn’t giving up.

“Right now, I’m just trying to stay positive because there’s been a lot of stuff going around. I’ve been out in the field all day because I do have a positive outcome for this and I know that we’re gonna find Chris because he’s a strong person,” Arias said. “The reason I came here is to bring him back.”

Police said Aguilar is about 5 feet 10 inches tall and of medium build. He was last seen wearing a blue/gray hoodie and either light blue or gray jeans. Anyone with any information in the case is asked to contact Gainesville Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Bureau at 352-393-7670.

There will be a candlelight vigil for Aguilar at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at North Trail Park at 780 Northwest 127th Avenue in Miami.

Source: NBCMiami

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Originally Update: 09/24/12 Miami, CA: A friend of a missing Miami man who attends the University of Florida in Gainesville was arrested Monday.

Pedro Bravo, 18, is accused of denying a crime victim medical care to Christian Aguilar, 18, and was being held in lieu of a $100,000 bond Monday night, according to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

Aguilar’s father, Carlos Aguilar, was shown on South Florida television news reports, machete in hand, searching for his son in a wooded area.

The father told WSVN-Ch. 7 that he hopes to find his son and that “he’s going to be beat up, but OK.”

Aguilar’s girlfriend, Erika Friman, told the student-run newspaper The Independent Florida Alligator, “It’s heartbreaking that this would happen to someone who is so good.”

The missing man has a history of depression, Gainesville police said.

Before the college freshman disappeared, he and Bravo had a confrontation, police said. Bravo told investigators he left Aguilar in a parking lot, police said.

After telling police he wanted to harm himself, Bravo was held for examination under Florida’s Baker Act on Friday, police said.

Aquilar is a 2012 graduate of the Doral Academy in Miami, where his brother Alex Aguilar is a junior.

“He was a stellar student,” Principal Douglas Rodriguez said of the missing man who spent his middle and high school years at the academy. “He was very, very motivated, at the top of his class in terms of GPA, and was in dual enrollment.”

Aguilar completed college freshman-level courses in math and science during his senior year, Rodriguez said, and studied biomedical engineering.

Students at the academy have raised $2,000 to pay for the Aguilar family’s expenses while they stay in Gainesville during the search.

Some of the academy’s students are upset, Rodriguez said, and have received counseling. “We’re very hopeful there will be a positive outcome,” Rodriguez said.

In February 1989, another UF student with South Florida ties, 20-year-old Tiffany Sessions, disappeared while walking near campus. If she is still alive, Sessions would be 43.

Her father, real estate developer Patrick Sessions, launched a national awareness campaign about his daughter and became an activist for missing children and their families.

Aguilar is 5 feet 3 inches tall with a medium build and was wearing a blue/gray hooded sweat shirt and light blue or gray jeans.

Source: Huffington Post