Family of Christian Aguilar Pays Respects on Slain Teen's Birthday

Family visits South Florida teen's burial site on what would have been his 19th birthday

By Julia Bagg and Brian Hamacher
|  Friday, Nov 16, 2012  |  Updated 12:08 PM EDT
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The family of slain University of Florida freshman Christian Aguilar marked what would have been the teen's 19th birthday Friday with a visit to his grave site in Doral. Father Carlos Aguilar discusses the gathering.

The family of slain University of Florida freshman Christian Aguilar marked what would have been the teen's 19th birthday Friday with a visit to his grave site in Doral. Father Carlos Aguilar discusses the gathering.

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Pedro Bravo Poisoned, Suffocated Christian Aguilar: Police

Authorities now allege that Pedro Bravo drugged and suffocated University of Florida student Christian Aguilar, a spokesman for the State Attorney s Office in Alachua County confirmed Thursday.
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The family of slain University of Florida freshman Christian Aguilar marked what would have been the teen's 19th birthday Friday with a visit to his gravesite in Doral.

Family members brought flowers and balloons to the grave at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery, where Aguilar was buried last month.

Father Carlos Aguilar carried his son's rosary and wore a shirt with his picture on it, and spoke of the "immense pain" of losing his son.

"It's a father's nightmare, it's no way that I can express it, it's painful," he said, fighting back tears.

The solemn observance came just a day after authorities announced a new indictment against Pedro Bravo, the friend and former classmate charged in Aguilar's death.

A spokesman for the State Attorney's Office in Alachua County alleged Thursday that Bravo, 18, drugged and suffocated Aguilar, who was last seen alive with Bravo on Sept. 20 at a Gainesville Best Buy.

Carlos Aguilar said the news from the State Attorney's office was actually a relief, saying "He was not suffering."

'Miracle' That Aguilar Found, Father Says

Aguilar's remains were found about 60 miles from Gainesville in Levy County on Oct. 12 after nearly three weeks of searching.

Bravo had initially been charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and depriving a crime victim of medical care. The new indictment adds charges of witness tampering, poisoning by food or water, providing law enforcement with false reports, providing law enforcement with false information and the illegal transportation of a dead human body.

Bravo's attorney has previously said he will file a not guilty plea.

Police said they found blood in Bravo's SUV and found Aguilar's backpack hidden inside a suitcase in Bravo's closet. Bravo also bought a shovel and roll of duct tape days before the disappearance of Aguilar, a UF freshman, according to authorities.

Police have previously said that Bravo said that he punched Aguilar in the face during an altercation before demanding that Aguilar get out of his vehicle. He then got out of his SUV, followed Aguilar, tripped him and beat him for 10 to 15 minutes before leaving him in a wooded area, Bravo told police in an interview on Sept. 21, according to an arrest report. Gainesville Police said they could never confirm his account, however.

Bravo is being held in the Alachua County Jail on no bond, according to online Alachua County Sheriff's Office records.

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