Arrest made in case of missing UF student

Ben Tobias, the GPD spokesman, talks with the media about a information in relation to the missing persons case of Christian Aguilar, at the police base camp set up in Forest Park in Gainesville on Monday.

Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012 at 12:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 24, 2012 at 10:40 p.m.

Pedro A. Bravo, identified by Gainesville Police as a person of interest in the disappearance of University of Florida student Christian Aguilar, was arrested Monday afternoon in connection with the case, police said.

Bravo, 18, was charged with depriving a victim of a crime of medical treatment, which is a third-degree felony, according to GPD spokesman Officer Ben Tobias.

Aguilar, 18, was last seen Thursday and police say they suspect foul play is involved in his disappearance. Bravo reportedly told investigators he was involved in an altercation with Aguilar and left him in a parking lot in the 4900 block of Northwest 13th Street around 6 p.m.

Tobias said that Bravo has given police three different versions of what happened with Aguilar. First, he said they just talked; next, he said he hit Aguilar and then left; finally, he told police that he beat Aguilar until he was unconscious and left him.

Bravo had been held for mental examination since Friday under Florida's Baker Act after making comments to investigators that he wanted to harm himself. He was arrested upon his release from psychiatric evaluation, Tobias said, and he was booked at the Alachua County jail.

Tobias said Bravo has accompanied police to various locations in the area that he said he had been with Aguilar. Nothing has been found at any of the locations, Tobias said.

Police have said that Aguilar and Bravo were fighting over a girl. On Monday, Aguilar's girlfriend told The Sun that she thinks that Bravo did not act alone.

“I think it wasn't him by himself,'' said Erika Friman. She said that she had dated Bravo before dating Aguilar.

GPD believes Aguilar may be disoriented and/or seriously injured and unable to seek medical help, the report states. Aguilar is of medium build and was last seen wearing a blue-gray hoodie and light-colored jeans.

Earlier on Monday, the search for Aguilar moved to an area across from Cabana Beach Apartments off Southwest 20th Avenue, with as many as 150 friends, family and volunteers joining police in combing a wooded area near Interstate 75.

A group of friends and family members also broke into teams and searched an area alongside State Road 121 east of U.S. 441 where Aguilar was thought to have been last seen.

His aunt, Sandra Aguilar, said a group of more than 30 people came up in a bus from Miami to help search.

A cousin who searched with the aunt said Aguilar recently graduated from Doral Academy in Miami and started at UF in the summer. The cousin said Aguilar liked to listen to Kanye West and play soccer.

Many of the group that came up from Miami on the bus were from his high school.

“Once we found out, we all just came,” the cousin said.

The aunt walked through an overgrown path next to the road. She said she had been searching nonstop since Friday night.

“We have hope and faith that we'll find him,” she said.

The search will resume Tuesday morning at 9 at Forest Park, 4501 SW 20th Ave.

Anyone with information on Aguilar's whereabouts may call the Gainesville Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 393-7604.

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