As the search continued for missing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar, students Roger Sanchez and Yeferson Acosta discussed his friendship with Pedro Bravo. Doral Academy Principal Douglas Rodriguez spoke about how the school is covering some expenses in the search for Aguilar.
Pedro Bravo, who Gainesville Police previously identified as a person of interest in the Christian Aguilar case, has now been arrested, according to online Alachua County Sheriff’s Office records.
Bravo, 18, was booked Monday afternoon on a charge of depriving a crime victim of medical care and is being held on $100,000 bond, the records say. The charge is a third-degree felony.
Aguilar, 18, a student at the University of Florida in Gainesville, has been missing since Thursday.
Under Aguilar's graduation photo on a wall at Doral Academy Preparatory High School hangs a yellow note.
“Come back safe,” it reads.
"We're all worried. We're all thinking and praying for the family right now,” said Douglas Rodriguez, the principal of the school.
Gainesville Police said they suspect foul play. Bravo, who was a classmate of Aguilar's, told authorities they got into a heated argument. He then dropped him off in a wooded area near a motorcycle shop.
But search volunteers, dogs and a helicopter have found no signs of Aguilar in the two locations that Bravo gave investigators, police said.
"We need to find him as soon as possible because we believe he was seriously injured," Gainesville Police spokesman Officer Ben Tobias said of the missing teen.
Aguilar may be disoriented or seriously injured and unable to seek medical attention, police said in a statement.
Police that 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 three different versions of what occurred, Tobias told The Gainesville Sun.
In the initial account, Bravo said they just talked, and in the second version he said he hit Aguilar and left, the Sun reported. In his third account, Bravo said he beat Aguilar until he was unconscious and then left him, according to the paper.
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.”
Aguilar’s family, friends and police haven't turned up any clues in the desperate search, and on Monday morning six teachers from Doral Academy offered their support by carpooling upstate to aide in the search.
"We have some teachers that had Christian as a student last year and we have other teachers that are just concerned because it's one of our Doral kids,” Rodriguez said.
The school is covering travel and hotel costs, and they also collected $2,000 in student donations together with funds from its management company.
"We always try to encourage our students to get into the very best colleges and go away and have that experience and it's so unfortunate when a student runs into this kind of situation, but certainly we're still very hopeful,” Rodriguez said.
Police said Aguilar is about 5 feet 10 inches tall and of medium build. He was last seen wearing a blue/gray hoodie and eight light blue or gray jeans.
"There are plenty of guys behind the scenes that are looking through phone records, looking through surveillance video from businesses in the area – trying to create that roadmap so we know exactly where to focus our efforts," Tobias said.