Hunters who found possible remains of missing UF student Christian Aguilar knew immediately it was human

 

The college freshman from Miami-Dade had been missing since Sept. 20. The prime suspect, his close friend, has already been charged with first-degree murder.

aburch@MiamiHerald.com

Hunters looking for firewood off a rural dirt road in Levy County discovered what is likely the remains of University of Florida student Christian Aguilar, 18.

They found the body, along with blue Vans shoes, blue jeans and duct tape Friday afternoon.

The two hunters quickly realized it was human remains.

"It looked like somebody tried to bury it, unsuccessfully,’’ Fred Oliver, a volunteer with the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, said Saturday. "They saw the skull, realized it was face down, and they realized it was not an animal.’’

The body was somewhat covered and placed in an area where the ground is hard and tough to dig.

The area was, “not easy to find,” Oliver said. It's about six miles off "the paved road” -- State Road 24, an area near Otter Creek and Rosewood.

Carlos Aguilar, who has personally searched for his son since the day after he disappeared, traveled to Levy County, about 60 miles southwest of Gainesville, Saturday morning.

"The police tell me they have a body that matches Christian,’’ he said. "I am just going to see if this is my son."

The family also issued a statement through the Find Christian Aguilar Facebook Page: "We the Aguilar-Gallego family are still stunned about the news. Still forensics have not confirmed the information, and they will not do so, until next Tuesday. Due to this occurrence, the volunteer activities for this weekend have been cancelled. We are asking for you to still pray for us."

The body was found on the grounds of the Gulf Hammock Hunting Club east of Cedar Key.

Gainesville Police, which is leading the investigation, is assisting the Levy County Sheriff’s Office in the processing of the body. No confirmation has been made yet.

Aguilar’s good friend in high school, Pedro Bravo, has been charged with first degree murder and kidnapping charges. Aguilar was last seen with Bravo at a Best Buy store and surveillance photos shows Aguilar wearing what appears to be similar clothing. Bravo later told police he beat Aguilar and left him bleeding and barely breathing. He said the argument was over a girl.

A Gainesville Police Department email distributed to media early Saturday stated their investigators are assisting Levy County officers with the discovery and processing of the body. Police will use forensic testing to confirm the body’s identity.

Aguilar went missing Sept. 20.

Bravo, an 18-year-old Santa Fe College student, has been indicted by an Alachua County grand jury on murder and kidnapping charges. He remains in the Alachua County Jail.

Writer Chris Alcantara of The Independent Florida Alligator in Gainesville contributed to this report. The story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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