Christian Aguilar, 18, was last seen on September 20, 2012, going into a Best Buy in Gainesville, Florida, with his friend Pedro Bravo. The University of Florida freshman went missing that day, launching a major search across Gainesville that lasted 22 days until the grim discovery of his remains in Levy County, about an hour away, the Miami Herald wrote. His body had been bound with duct tape and was found face down in a shallow grave.
A few days before his body was found, his friend Bravo was arrested and charged with his murder. According to the Miami Herald, authorities said they found blood in his vehicle, Aguilar’s backpack hidden in Bravo’s apartment as well as a receipt for duct tape and a shovel in the days leading up to the student’s disappearance.
Authorities Argued That Bravo Was Jealous of Aguilar After His Friend Began Dating His Ex-Girlfriend
Aguilar and Bravo met each other in 8th grade of high school at Doral Academy Preparatory School and became friends. In high school, Bravo was dating Erika Friman, who later told ABC News that she wanted to move on in their senior year but was afraid to do so because she believed Bravo might harm himself.
After graduation, in the summer of 2012, Friman finally ended things with Bravo, telling him she wasn’t interested in pursuing a long-distance relationship in college and moved to Gainesville, where she was enrolled at the Santa Fe Community College.
She began dating Bravo’s friend Aguilar, who was attending the University of Florida, at the beginning of their freshman year in 2012 but didn’t tell Bravo about the relationship because she said she was afraid it would hurt him, she told ABC News.
Authorities said that when Bravo found out about the relationship in August 2012, he began looking up alibis, fatal doses of sleeping medication and statistics about murder online. He then decided to drive from Miami to Gainesville and even enrolled in the community college himself so he could be closer to Friman.
A Cellmate of Bravo’s Testified Against Him & Said Bravo Detailed the Killing
During Bravo’s trial, a cellmate of his at Alachua County jail testified that Bravo confessed to the crime and detailed the murder. According to inmate Michael Angelo’s testimony reported by The Gainesville Sun, Angelo said Bravo told him he killed Aguilar by strangling him with a strap in his car in a Walmart parking lot.
Bravo told Angelo that while he held the strap against Aguilar’s throat, he watched the clock for 13 minutes and even saw a Walmart security guard go past while he waited, Angelo said. He testified that Bravo told him the two had been talking and then Bravo made an excuse to go into the backseat where “He said he put a strap around (Aguilar’s) neck and braced himself on the back seat… He said he had already looked on the computer for places to bury him.”
According to testimony at Bravo’s trial, Aguilar’s remains were found “prone… face down in the grave,” the Gainesville Sun wrote. After a two-week trial, the jury deliberated for several hours before returning a guilty verdict, WUFT reported.