MD Urban Rescue Team Assisting In Search For UF Student
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GAINESVILLE (CBSMiami) – It’s been one week since a South Florida teen vanished in Gainesville. The search party, which recently doubled in size, spread out and searched for Christian Aguilar on Thursday, looking for clues to his whereabouts.
Erik Skipper, one of suspect Pedro Bravo’s roommates, showed CBS4’s Ted Scouten where 15 to 20 brown paper bags of evidence were lined up.
More help is on the way to find 18-year old Christian Aguilar.
Miami-Dade County has sent members of their Miami-Dade Fire Rescue K9 Urban Search and Rescue team as well as several police K9s and their partners.
The actual number of law enforcement agencies and law officers has doubled since Wednesday.
Christian’s dad Carlos still believes his son is alive and is praying that suspect Pedro Bravo will give some new clues.
“We haven’t found any indication of anybody dead injured or clothes, evidence or nothing we were searching for,” said Carlos Aguilar. “It’s something that he’s not telling us that he’s keeping to himself that’s key to the investigation.”
Last Thursday Aguilar and his best friend, 18-year old Pedro Bravo, got into a fight. After several different versions of what happened, Bravo finally told detectives he beat Christian up and left him in a parking lot in northwestern Gainesville.
The fight took place just hours after the two were seen on surveillance video walking into a Best Buy to buy a Kanye West CD.
On Wednesday, police also revealed that Bravo bought a small shovel and a roll of duct tape several days before Christian’s disappearance.
Police said after learning about the shovel, they decided to change the way they search.
“Originally, when we were looking in original areas, we didn’t think the shovel was involved, we were looking primarily above ground. With the shovel being involved, obviously we’re going to go underground a bit,” explained Gainesville Police spokesman Ben Tobias.
Bravo’s roommate, Erik Skipper, said police searched their room for clues after Aguilar’s disappearance. Last Thursday, Skipper said he saw Bravo briefly before he left to meet up with Aguilar.
“I was eating lunch, again, I only ever say two things to him a day, that’s ‘Hello’ and ‘Good- bye’ and he was just walking out and said ‘Good bye,” recalled Skipper.
Bravo reportedly told investigators he bought the shovel and duct tape to fix his car after an accident, but Skipper said his car had two flats tires and a dent on Monday.
“He said he had hit a curb and it would have to have been a pretty big curb because the dent was massive,” said Skipper.
“But nothing you would use duct tape to repair,” asked CBS4 reporter Ted Scouten.
“Certainly not, nor a shovel,” said Skipper who added that Bravo’s story changed after a while. “He said he hit, it was a curb, but then he also threw in a wall and there was a ditch involved, this was Monday.”
Investigators have not found the tape or shovel.
In addition to the Miami-Dade search contingent, others from South Florida include members of the Doral, Sweetwater and West Palm Beach police forces. Sweetwater Police, along with West Palm Beach Police, brought bloodhounds and cadaver dogs to the search, but they haven’t found anything so far.
“If he’s anywhere and they did try to bury him somewhere, it’s very shallow and I have faith these dogs would pick up the scent,” said Sweetwater Police Chief Robert Fulgueira.
Originally police speculated that the two got into a fight over Erika Friman, Aguilar’s girlfriend who Bravo dated in the past. Carlos Aguilar doesn’t buy that.
“We know that we cannot believe him. He’s been pulling the bluff, saying it was something regarding a relationship, or something regarding a woman. That’s not true,” said Aguilar. “This is something more like jealousy. He knows that my son was living the dream he wanted himself and was not able to achieve.”
All three graduated from Doral Academy. Aguilar, who was studying biomedical engineering, and Friman were freshman at the University of Florida. Bravo was a freshman at Sante Fe College in Gainesville.
Bravo, who has been charged with depriving a victim of medical care, is being held on a $100 thousand bond.
Anyone wishing to volunteer to help with the search can call the Gainesville Police Department’s recorded information line at 352-393-7511 for information.