Aguilar family celebrates Christian's birthday

Grand jury indictment: Pedro Bravo poisoned, suffocated Christian Aguilar

By Ben Kennedy - Reporter

DORAL, Fla. - The family of Christian Aguilar celebrated his 19th birthday at his burial site Friday, one day after finding out how the University of Florida student died.

"The pain is always with you. (It) wakes up early and goes to sleep really late," said Carlos Aguilar, Christian's father. "Today is one more day, one strong day, but every day we have Christian in our mind."

Pedro Bravo poisoned and suffocated Aguilar, according to a grand jury indictment released Thursday.

Aguilar brought flowers and balloons to his son's headstone at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery in Doral. He said his family now has closure after learning how Christian died.

"We cry. We pray. We have ups and downs," said Aguilar. "When you lost a son, the pain is always with you."

The indictment didn't specify how Bravo poisoned Christian Aguilar. It changed the original indictment and added new charges.

Prosecutors told the Gainesville Sun traces of an unnamed, over-the-counter drug were found in a container inside Bravo's car. In excessive quantities, the drug could have rendered Christian Aguilar defenseless against Bravo.

"It was like comforting knowing that he died without suffering that much and, at the same time, making the case strong," said Aguilar.

Christian Aguilar, 18, and Bravo, 19, went to school together at Doral Academy and then moved to Gainesville for college. Aguilar was last seen Sept. 20. Bravo first told police he beat Aguilar and left him near a field on the UF campus, but police couldn't find the body.

But prosecutors said Bravo had no bruises on his hands, cuts, or swelling to indicate he hit anyone. That's why they believe Christian Aguilar was suffocated before his body was buried in a shallow grave in a remote area about an hour west of Gainesville.

The teenager's body was discovered by hunters in the deep woods of Levy County on Oct. 17, nearly a month after he disappeared.

"When we were looking, that was the worst nightmare that a father can have, that you'll never find him," said Aguilar.

The grand jury charged Bravo with murder; kidnapping; poisoning food or water; tampering with physical evidence; providing false reports to law enforcement authorities; providing false information to law enforcement; and, improper transportation of a dead human body. Detectives still haven't found the shovel and roll of duct tape they say Bravo purchased days before Aguilar was reported missing.

The indictment doesn't mention a motive but prosecutors believe Bravo was angry because Aguilar was dating his former high school girlfriend.

Bravo is being held on no bond.

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