"I don't have no more tears right now, but the pain is in my chest. I still feel my son is still alive, in my heart," Carlos Aguilar said after Gainesville Police spokesman Officer Ben Tobias announced that Pedro Bravo had been charged with the murder of Christian Aguilar, whose body still has not been found.
Gainesville Police charged Pedro Bravo with the murder of missing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar on Friday, but they said no body has been found yet.
"The body of Christian Aguilar has not yet been recovered," police spokesman Officer Ben Tobias said.
The news was devastating to Aguilar's family and friends.
"That moment, it destroyed my family," said his father, Carlos Aguilar.
The announcement came eight days after Christian Aguilar disappeared. Numerous police agencies and volunteers have spent day after day searching woods and other areas around Gainesville for signs of Aguilar, 18, with little to show for their efforts.
“The deepest condolences of the Gainesville Police Department are with the Aguilar family today,” Tobias said.
After the announcement was made, Carlos Aguilar responded, "I don't have no more tears right now, but the pain is in my chest. I still feel my son is still alive, in my heart."
Police said the search for Aguilar will continue and encouraged people to keep helping them with that. They also encouraged property owners, who may have lime rock roads on their property accessible to the public, to search them for any suspicious areas in the ground that appear to have been disturbed.
"We are also requesting information from anyone who may have seen a suspicious vehicle likened to a blue Chevy Blazer in any remote areas on the night of Thursday, Sept. 20," Tobias said.
On Friday, police released a series of photos of Bravo's car, Aguilar's friend and former classmate, who was initially charged with depriving a crime victim of medical care related to the disappearance.
Police said they're asking for the public's help in accounting for Bravo's whereabouts between 3 p.m. last Thursday, when he was spotted with Aguilar at a Best Buy store, and 8 a.m. Friday.
The photos show Bravo's 2004 Chevrolet Blazer with a different front right wheel and tire. Police say Bravo originally told them he wrecked the Blazer a week before Aguilar's disappearance, causing him to have to replace the rim, but none of that information can be confirmed.
Police said they hope the wheel is unique enough that someone may remember seeing the vehicle or that a Gainesville business owner may have captured the vehicle on an outside surveillance video.
Bravo, 18, was arrested Monday. Gainesville Police say he told investigators he was involved in an altercation with Aguilar the day he disappeared. Bravo's attorney said Tuesday that his client is very concerned about the missing student.
On Wednesday, Gainesville Police said Bravo bought a shovel and roll of duct tape "several days" before the disappearance, and they believe Bravo knows where Aguilar is.
Bravo remains behind bars in the Alachua County jail on $100,000 bond.
Tobias said the shovel and duct tape haven't been found, and that previously searched areas will be re-combed now that a shovel is involved.
Friends, family and authorities have been searching for Doral Academy Preparatory High School grad for seven days. The search area is constantly growing and is extending past the city limits, police said Thursday.
Civilian volunteers have been joined by 17 law enforcement agencies from across the state in the effort. Six are from South Florida, including Doral and Sweetwater Police, Miami-Dade Police, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and Miramar and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
The FBI, US Marshals and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are also assisting in the effort.
Now that Bravo has been charged with murder, Carlos Aguilar says finding his son is more important than ever.
"I've been told that if we don't find Christian's body, okay, unfortunately, he can walk, and I will not let that happen," he said.
Carlos Aguilar said he plans to rejoin the search to find his son Saturday morning – but now he looks to lay him to rest.
"I will be with my son, you know, in the church, and putting him to rest, and after that one, the family, we can start our grieving," he said.
Anyone with any information in the case is asked to contact Gainesville Police Department's Criminal Investigations Bureau at 352-393-7670. Anyone wishing to volunteer their help can call the volunteer hotline at 352-393-7511. A Facebook page called Find Christian Aguilar has been set up and the hashtag #HelpFindChris is being used on Twitter.