The father of a missing University of Florida freshman is pleading for help from the public to assist in the search for his son.
Christian Aguilar, 18, has not been seen since he was allegedly involved in a dispute about a girlfriend Thursday, and authorities said they suspect foul play. His father said he was beaten by another student before his disappearance.
“We are looking in a very small area, and it’s a huge area,” the teenager’s father, Carlos Aguilar, told NBC 6 South Florida. “We need more people, you know.”
A person of interest who last saw the teen is being questioned, according to Gainesville Police. The agency said it is currently searching areas where Aguilar could have been left by the person, but they are not confirming whether that person was involved in the alleged dispute.
On Sunday, friends and family of the student continued assisting authorities with the search. His father told NBC 6 South Florida that a team of detectives was searching for his son in a wooded area.
“The more hours that pass, the less chance my son has,” he said.
Gainesville Police said it was "critical" to find the teenager because he may be injured. They made a plea to business owners to report anything suspicious.
Back in Miami, good friends of the missing teenager spoke exclusively to NBC 6 South Florida about their old high school classmate.
"To think that Christian is the type of person that would never want to harm anyone and now to hear that foul play is involved -- anyone who knows him well is in shock because of that,” said Sebastian Arias.
Friends said he was loveable and goal-oriented.
“Everybody loved Christian. Everybody wanted to be Christian’s friend," said Elyssa Ortiz.
Carlos Aguilar said his son had plans to study biomedical engineering and was happy to be a Florida Gator.
“He said it was the best curriculum for his aspirations, so I allowed him to go over there,” his father said about the move during Summer B. “He is just a friendly person and has a sense of humor and likes to read a lot."
His father said he plans to stay in Gainesville until his son is found.
“My life is my two sons,” he said. “Right now I’m going to stay. My friends have to continue with their lives. They’re not going to stop everything because he disappeared. I am the one who is left.”
Like his father, friends said they are not giving up.
"I miss you a lot man, and um, I just hope that you can come back to your family and friends because we're very concerned for you," Arias said.
Christian Aguilar was born and raised in southwest Miami-Dade.