Authorities believe that the remains of Yvonne Baldelli were found on Tuesday on the island in Panama where she was living when she went missing in 2011. Her boyfriend at the time was arrested in June in connection with her disappearance. Here’s what you need to know.
1. A Human Skull Was Found in Panama
Remains found in Panama may be those of missing California woman Yvonne Baldelli http://t.co/tMKa6K0nZa
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 21, 2013
According to authorities, a “green military style” backpack was found on Tuesday by a a resident of Isla Carenero in Panama that contained a human skull and some bones, but not a complete skeleton, reports Fox News. Women’s clothes were also found inside the bag.
“We are operating under the presumption this is the body of a woman, based on the size and shape of the skull and the presence of the woman’s clothing,” an investigator told the Panama-Guide. “We are proceeding under the assumption it could very well be the remains of Yvonne Baldelli, which will of course have to be proven through comprehensive scientific and forensic testing.”
2. Baldelli Disappeared Almost Two Years Ago
Baldelli was last seen in November 2011 in Isla Carenero, an island in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago of Panama, after moving there from Dana Point, San Diego with her boyfriend at the time, Brian Brimager. Baldelli was reported missing by her family in January 2012 when she failed to show up for a family reunion.
3. Her Boyfriend Was Charged in Connection to her Disappearance
Brimager, a retired Marine, was arrested in June on charges of obstructing justice in connection of Baldelli’s disappearance. His indictment indictment alleges Brimager killed Baldelli and disposed of her body and any evidence to avoid detection. It also states that he withdrew money from her bank account to make it appear that she was still alive and even impersonated her in e-mails to her friends and family.
Brimager is facing 10 counts of obstruction of justice and one count of making a false statement to a federal officer. Though the indictment alleged he killed Baldelli, it does not charge him with her murder.
Read the full indictment here:
4. The Indictment Claims He Assaulted Her Before Her Disappearance
The indictment also claims Brimager assaulted Baldelli multiple times shortly after the couple moved to Isla Carenero. The altercations led to bruising around Baldelli’s eyes and on her arms.
5. Prosecutors Say Brimager Tried to Make it Look Like Baldelli Left Him for Another Man
Prosecutors say that Brimager traveled to Costa Rica after he murdered Baldelli as part of an elaborate ruse to have it appear she left Panama for another man. In Brimager faked e-mails to her friends and family said Baldelli was with another man in Costa Rica and “having a great time.”
6. Brimager Searched the Internet for “Washing Mattress Blood Stain”
Prosecutors also claim Brimager conducted an Internet search on Baldelli’s laptop with the words: “washing mattress blood stain.” They say that after disposing her body in an unknown location, he then dumped the said bloodstained mattress in the ocean. Furthermore, in the weeks following her disappearance, the former Marine sold a used machete online, stating in the ad, “Don’t worry, I’ve only killed one person with it,” reports U-T San Diego. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Conover, Brimager also allegedly made comments publicly bragging that he was among a small percentage of people capable of killing someone.
7. Her Dogs Also Went Missing
Also missing are Baldelli’s two dogs, one of which a King Charles Spaniel named Georgia Mae.
8. Brimager is Now Living in California With the Mother of His Child
The indictment says that Brimager began e-mailing another girlfriend, the mother of his young daughter, almost immediately after he moved to Isla Carenero and discussed plans to move back to California to raise their child together. They are now married and living together in California.
9. He Had an Affair With Another Woman
Press Release From Yvonne Baldelli's Family (In Response To The Arrest of Brian Brimager) http://t.co/kKXN2JPEhM
— Panama-Guide.com (@Panama_Guide) June 27, 2013
Before marrying the mother of his child, Brimager had an affair with yet another woman on the island following Baldelli’s disappearance. He befriended the woman who complained that she was lonely and wanted to go back home to her family in Washington. Brimager offered to pay for her trip, but only if she spent a week in San Diego with him. Before his wedding, the woman spent several days with Brimager when his fiancée was out of town. Her visit was cut short when he allegedly hit her in the car after he got angry when she couldn’t get a camera out fast enough to take his photo at the Border Patrol checkpoint.
10. He Denies Any Involvement in Baldelli’s Disappearance
The suspect pleaded not guilty to the charges of obstruction of justice and making a false statement to a federal officer in connection with the disappearance.