Gainesville detectives investigating the disappearance of University of Florida student Christian Aguilar on Wednesday revealed the prime suspect in the case recently purchased a shovel and duct tape.
It’s unclear why Pedro Bravo, 18, who is in custody and charged with denying medical aid to a victim, purchased the items, which have not been recovered, but relatives of the missing Miami-Dade teen said they were now preparing for the worst.
Christian’s father, Carlos, broke down during a news conference and said he still held out hope that his 18-year-old son is alive.
“Police don’t have certainty of imminent death,” the father said. “We still believe there’s hope. But we’re preparing for the worst.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Police did not reveal where Bravo purchased the items and said they were still searching for Aguilar, who has been missing since Thursday.
“With every day that goes by, the likelihood gets less and less,” said police spokesman Ben Tobias. “We’re going to continue the search until we don’t have any fresh information.”
Investigators said Aguilar’s last cell phone activity came at 8:14 p.m. Thursday when the phone was powered off. The phone has not been recovered.
The two one-time best friends who graduated together in June from Doral Academy Preparatory were captured by security cameras entering a Best Buy in Gainesville. Both followed the career of rapper Kanye West and on that day Aguilar purchased the artist’s Cruel Summer compilation CD. Detectives found the CD’s jewel case and wrapping but are still looking for the compact disc.
Bravo admitted he fought with Aguilar and left him in a parking lot later that night.
On Wednesday, Christian’s father, again pleaded for information about his son’s whereabouts and said Bravo didn’t seem like the same boy he has known.
“That’s a cold-blooded criminal. That’s not Pedro. That’s not the Pedro I saw with my son,” Carlos Aguilar said.
“Where did you leave my son?,” the father asked later during the news conference. “What is important is finding my son; that he’s alive.”
The senior Aguilar said he didn’t believe the falling out between his son and Bravo involved a love triangle.
“My belief is this is not something related to a girl. Somebody is jealous that my son is living the dream that he couldn’t have,” Carlos Aguilar said. “This is devastating to both sides. This is a tragedy no matter how you see it.”
Bravo had planned to attend Florida International University but at the last minute enrolled at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, where Aguilar and Bravo’s ex-girlfriend were attending school. The woman, Erika Friman, had recently started dating Aguilar.
Meanwhile, the search for Aguilar continued and Doral police said it will send a contingent of officers to Gainesville to help in the search for Aguilar.
Friends and family, including administrators, teachers and students from Doral Academy Preparatory School, have been searching for Aguilar since the weekend.
Multiple agencies are assisting Gainesville in the search. Doral will be providing six officers including K-9 units plus all-terrain vehicles.
The Aguilar family asks that anyone with information on what happened to Christian should call 352-393-7670.