On Sept. 20, Bravo and Aguilar were captured together on video surveillance around 3 p.m. at a Best Buy store southwest of the University of Florida campus.
Police interviewed Bravo the following day, after Aguilar was reported missing. Bravo told police that Aguilar was riding in Bravo’s Chevy Blazer when Bravo punched him and ordered him from the car, court records show. Bravo then jumped on Aguilar and beat him for 10 to 15 minutes, leaving Aguilar “bloody, swollen and barely breathing,” records show.
Police said they last spoke to Bravo on Friday, Sept. 21. Police checked Bravo into a mental health facility after he said he was considering harming himself. He has been held at the Alachua County Jail since Monday.
Earlier Friday, police made a public plea for any witnesses who may know about Bravo’s movements around the time Aguilar disappeared. Police said they could not account for Bravo’s whereabouts for a 17-hour period: from 3 p.m. on Sept 20 to 8 a.m. on Sept. 21.
Police have also asked for help from any witnesses who may have seen Bravo’s SUV, a blue two-door Chevy Blazer, during that time. The truck has front-end damage and mismatched tires on its passenger side — the result of a wreck weeks earlier, Bravo told police.
“He said he was riding on some back roads with friends and hit a tree. They changed the tire, and he said he wrecked the car a second time, damaging the spare tire,” Tobias said.
Bravo’s roommate, Erik Skipper, told The Miami Herald that he helped Bravo change the tires on his truck on Sept. 17, three days before Aguilar vanished.
Skipper said he believed Bravo came back to the apartment sometime between 4 and 8 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 21, because Bravo left a message on the refrigerator.
Searchers are expected to reconvene Saturday morning to resume the search for Aguilar.
“This is shocking in terms of the timing of the charges. I thought it would be a while longer,” said 19-year-old Sam Schaller, a Santa Fe student who joined the search for three days. “But I am returning tomorrow to help recover the body. The family needs that for closure.”
Staff writers Anna Edgerton and Meredith Rutland contributed to this story.