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Grand jury indicts Pedro Bravo on murder, kidnapping charges in disappearance of Christian Aguilar

Pedro Bravo
Pedro Bravo

On Tuesday, as more charges were brought against his son’s accused killer, Carlos Aguilar kept searching.

It had been 19 days since Christian Aguilar disappeared somewhere in Gainesville. More than two weeks had passed since police arrested the accused killer, a former high school friend of Christian Aguilar’s from Doral Academy Preparatory School.

Then came Tuesday, when a grand jury reaffirmed the murder charge against Pedro Bravo and added another — kidnapping.

But Christian Aguilar’s body was still missing.

Hours after hearing the grand jury’s decision announced, Carlos Aguilar returned to another patch of woods to search, again. The added charge did not deliver what he needed most.

“I haven’t found my son. What I’m looking for is to find my son, so I can get everything ready with my family,” Carlos Aguilar said. “That’s what I really need.”

As Carlos Aguilar continued his quest, Bravo,18, remained in the Alachua County Jail, held without bail. Bravo’s lawyer, Ron Kozlowski, said the indictment Tuesday was “expected,” but declined to comment further.

Aguilar, 18, had graduated earlier this year from Doral Academy and was in his first year of classes at the University of Florida. Bravo also had graduated from Doral Academy. He moved to Gainesville to study at Santa Fe College.

The two had been friends but later fell out after a disagreement. Friends said it was because Aguilar began dating Bravo’s ex-girlfriend, a fellow Doral Academy graduate enrolled at Santa Fe.

Aguilar was last seen alive Sept. 20 at a Gainesville Best Buy with Bravo.

Four days later, Bravo was arrested by police and charged with refusing to provide medical care to a crime victim. Police said it was because Bravo told them he beat up Aguilar and left him, bloody, in a parking lot.

Sept. 28, police charged Bravo with murder. Police said they found a backpack that had belonged to Aguilar hidden within a suitcase in Bravo’s closet. Blood was in Bravo’s vehicle.

But no body.

The law requires first-degree murder charges to also go before a grand jury. On Tuesday, the grand jury agreed with the murder charge and added kidnapping.

The refusing to provide medical care charge eventually will go away, said Spencer Mann, chief investigator for the state attorney’s office in Gainesville.

Why the grand jury added the kidnapping charge wasn’t public Tuesday. The grand jury records were sealed.

Gainesville police spokesman Officer Ben Tobias deferred all questions to prosecutors.

Mann said new evidence had been presented to the grand jury but declined to give any details about it.

That new evidence did not appear to include Christian Aguilar’s remains.

So, Carlos Aguilar returned to the Gainesville woods, again. He said he had the help of some friends and, though he would return to South Florida, they planned to go back on weekends and keep searching.

“We’re still going to continue the searches,” Carlos Aguilar said. “I’m going to continue looking for my son.”

Miami Herald staff writer Scott Hiaasen and Herald writer Meredith Rutland contributed to this report.

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