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. His mother, Claudia Aguilar, begged for information as to the whereabouts of her son.
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.
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.
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Authorities also said his cellphone is no longer active.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."
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.