Police: Suspect admits to punching missing UF student until he was unconscious
Updated On: Sep 30 2012 10:06:50 PM EDT
The teenager accused of murdering University of Florida student Christian Aguilar has admitted to punching the missing teenager until he lost consciousness, according to an arrest report from Gainesville police.
Investigators said Pedro Bravo confessed to beating Aguilar after they confronted him with new evidence, including the discovery of blood in Bravo's vehicle and Aguilar's backpack.
Authorities are testing the blood to see if it matches Aguilar's DNA. They said they found Aguilar's backpack inside a suitcase in Bravo's closet.
Bravo was denied bond Saturday and has been under suicide watch.
According to the report obtained by Local 10, the teenager admitted to punching Aguilar in the face, forcing him out of his vehicle near a wooded swamp area and beating him for 10 to 15 minutes.
"The [defendant] stated that he was on top of the victim punching him until the victim lost consciousness," the report said. "The [defendant] stated that the victim was barely breathing and not moving, lying on his back partially in water, at the time that the [defendant] left him."
Police said Bravo also confessed to throwing Aguilar's phone in the water.
Authorities said Aguilar may have been buried near a lime rock roadway. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences scientists have confirmed that lime rock residue was found on Bravo’s vehicle.
Gainesville police charged Aguilar's friend and former Doral Academy classmate, Bravo, with his murder on Friday. Bravo had previously been arrested for depriving a victim of medical treatment.
Aguilar was last seen on September 20. According to investigators, Aguilar and Bravo got into a fight that day. Bravo told police that he beat Aguilar up and left him by a field on the UF campus, but did say much else until he was confronted about new evidence, according to detectives in Gainesville.
Investigators have been unable to account for Bravo's whereabouts on September 20 from about 3 p.m., when he was seen with Aguilar at an area Best Buy on surveillance video, to about 8 a.m. Friday.
On Wednesday, investigators said Bravo purchased a shovel and duct tape a few days before Aguilar went missing.
Gov. Rick Scott joined the massive search for Aguilar on Saturday, combing through wooded fields and parking lots.
"The body of Christian Aguilar has not yet been recovered. The Gainesville Police Department will continue its search efforts for Christian Aguilar and would still encourage citizens to volunteer to help us in that search," said Gainesville Police Officer Ben Tobias.
Classmates at Doral Academy Preparatory High School reacted to the news that a former classmate had been accused of killing one of their own.
"Most of us came to tears when we heard about the news," said student Claudia Brito.
"Certainly this is a new event in this case that is just really been devastating for all of us," said school principal Douglas Rodriguez
At Doral Academy, Aguilar was a top student and was once good friends with Bravo, the teen police said bought a shovel and duct tape before they had their last argument. Chris disappeared shortly afterwards.
"It's a shame to see that we have one family that's been devastated but we also have another family that I'm sure is devastated by these events," Rodriguez said.
The school has banded together, making videos supporting search efforts. Several organizations, including cheerleaders, have raised money to help Aguilar's family cover the expense of searching for him in Gainesville. Rodriguez said students have raised more than $12,000.
"We try to raise as much money as we can," Brito, a cheerleader, said.
"They deserve everything. If it's closure, if it's the truth; they just deserve to know the truth and closure," said family friend Kimberly San Martin.
"Our whole philosophy here is we need to bring Chris here and we need to help his family find him," Rodriguez said.
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