Christian Aguilar’s Murder: Where is Pedro Bravo Now?

The murder case of Christian Aguilar is covered in Investigation Discovery’s ‘Signs Of A Psychopath: Diary of a Psychopath’ and Hulu’s ‘Death in the Dorms: Christian Aguilar.’ When college student Christian Aguilar disappeared out of nowhere, it became a cause for distress for his family and girlfriend. Upon delving deeper into the case, the police discovered that the 18-year-old freshman was murdered, sending shockwaves to the entire community. The episodes of both shows provide us with a detailed account of the entire case with the help of interviews with the victim’s loved ones and officials directly involved in the investigation.

Christian Aguilar Was Missing For Weeks Before His Remains Were Found

On November 16, 1993, Claudia and Carlos Aguilar were blessed to hear the sound of the patter of the tiny feet of Christian S. Aguilar as he entered into this world. The members of the Aguilar-Martinez family were elated upon the baby boy’s arrival and celebrated the same at their residence in Doral in Miami-Dade County, Florida. A devout Christian, he was baptized at a young age and raised amid the love and care of his close ones. Christian showcased a real zest for life and never backed down from participating in its many adventures. Christian was quite athletic as a young boy and enjoyed playing soccer and various other sports while growing up.

Image Credit: FOX News

Christian obtained his early education from Doral Academy Preparatory School and smiled the widest at his high school graduation ceremony. He was a sincere individual and aspired to become a biomedical engineer. As a step closer to fulfilling his desire, Christian enrolled at the University of Florida in Gainesville in Alachua County and was pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering. A proud Florida Gator, the teenager was a huge fan of Timothy Richard Tebow AKA Tim, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and a renowned name in SEC football who also graduated from the University.

Christian was a free-spirited personality with a smile that held the potential of lighting up the room. His affable nature and warmheartedness won the hearts of those he crossed paths with. A jovial person who believed in lifting others up in their saddest moments, Christian was admired by many and also had several friends. The freshman had faith in himself and harbored high hopes for his future. When things seemed to be working as per his plan, the flame of the 18-year-old’s bright personality was extinguished in a cruel manner. At the time of the incident, Christian had been in a relationship with Erika Friman for a while.

On September 20, 2012, when Erika couldn’t get hold of Christian even after calling multiple times and sending several texts, she got worried and turned to the authorities and filed an official report. The police launched their investigation into the matter and were joined in their efforts by Christian’s family members, friends, and hundreds of locals and volunteers. Even an air unit was employed to determine his whereabouts.

As days passed by, the 18-year-old’s loved ones began to grow concerned about his safety but clung to hope. However, their worst nightmare came true about 22 days after Christian went missing. In the afternoon of October 12, partially buried remains were discovered by a few hunters in a wooded and isolated area in Levy County. The remains were sent for further examination, and the dental records were used to corroborate the identity of Christian Aguilar. The medical report stated that the 18-year-old died of poisoning and strangulation.

Christian Aguilar Became the Target of a Friend Obsessed With Revenge

When Christian Aguilar was reported missing on September 20, 2012, the police got in touch with the last person who had seen him, Pedro Bravo. In the interview, he claimed that he had been feeling suicidal, about which he went to talk to Christian. While they were talking, he mentioned that they had a few disagreements and that a random hitchhiker was also in the vehicle with them for some part of their ride. Pedro was asked to take the authorities through the exact route that he and Christian had taken the day before he disappeared. Pedro was then reportedly taken into custody for 72 hours to ensure that he was not a harm to himself.

The police interrogated Pedro for the second time to determine if his claims in the first one were true or fabricated. They noticed that his account of events had changed, as he even claimed that the disagreement with Christian had gotten physical after dropping off the hitchhiker that day. After four days had passed into the sudden vanishing of Christian, the authorities decided to dig deeper into the relationship between the 18-year-old and Pedro. They soon learned that before Christian, Erika Friman was in a relationship with Pedro. The three of them had gone to the same high school in Doral, Florida. Erika and Pedro broke up in 2012, during their senior year, before the former went to Santa Fe Community College.

Christian and Erika began dating soon after starting their college. However, since the three were friends in high school, the couple decided to keep their relationship a secret from Pedro. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a secret for long, as he learned about their romance through mutual friends. Enraged, he felt betrayed by Christian and allegedly devised a plan to get revenge on him. Reportedly, Pedro’s mental health was already in decline, but when Erika left him, it deteriorated even further. Using this as an excuse, he called up Christian and asked for his support in September 2012. Learning about these clear motives, the investigators delved deep into the matter to dig out evidence against Pedro.

Taking into account his lack of worry for his friend, the officers booked Pedro under “failure to render aid” and obtained a search warrant for his car. While executing the search, the investigators found dirt and limestone traces in the undercarriage and sent it for further testing. Aside from that, they got their hands on a Gatorade bottle and a roll of duct tape. The results mentioned that the residue was actually from Levy County in Gainesville. A further search of Pedro’s residence also led to the discovery of a receipt for the purchase of a shovel.

Moreover, a look into Pedro’s journal revealed his obsession with getting back with Erika and unfurled his elaborate plan to do that “by making Christian disappear.” He was swiftly arrested on September 24, 2012, and charged with first-degree murder of Christian Aguilar on September 28. As the investigation carried on in full swing, a discovery stunned everyone. Around 2:30 pm on October 12, a few hunters in pursuit of jasmine vines inside the wooded area of the Gulf Hammock Hunting Club in Levy County got distracted by a peculiar decomposing smell and stumbled upon a body that was buried partially into the ground.

Following the discovery 8 miles off State Road 24 on Parker Boulevard near Otter Creek, the authorities arrived at the spot. The skeletal remains and the clothes matched the description of Christian’s attire on the day of his disappearance. After confirmation via DNA tests and dental record identification, they broke the tragic news to the family of Christian Aguilar. The authorities also recovered duct tape from where the 18-year-old’s remains were found, and analysts confirmed it to be an exact match to the one they had obtained from Pedro’s car.

While looking for a motive behind the heinous act, the authorities reportedly received another set of reports, which stated that traces of sedatives such as acetaminophen and diphenhydramine were detected on the Gatorade bottle taken from Pedro’s car. He, however, said he got the poison to harm himself. The police further confirmed that the then-20-year-old’s phone was pinged in the parking lot of Walmart on North West 13th Street for about hours on the night of Christian’s death. There were also surveillance pictures of Pedro buying a shovel, tape, knife, etc.

Furthermore, there were reports that the fluid taken for the test from Christian’s lungs indicated strangulation. As per the authorities, Pedro’s obsession with Erika Friman was so intense that it motivated him to map out a plan to take the life of his friend. They stated that he poisoned and strangled Christian around the Wal-Mart and later moved his remains to the woods, where he proceeded to dig a shallow grave and bury it into the ground, enough to hide it from the world. Taking all the evidence into account, the authorities expressed belief that Pedro had killed Christian in an act of premeditation. The former, however, said he wasn’t guilty.

Pedro Bravo is Serving His Sentence in Prison Today

Pedro Bravo went to trial for the first-degree murder of Christian Aguilar on August 5, 2014. Aside from presenting the evidence obtained from the spot where the 18-year-old’s remains were found and Pedro’s car, the prosecutors invited several witnesses onto the stand who testified that Pedro was obsessed with his ex-girlfriend Erika and had an issue with her relationship with Christian. When Erika was asked to testify, she referred to Pedro as “a sociopath, or a sick person” and said: “It was sickening, almost, just because we knew him for so long and Christian was his friend.”

She added, “This was a person we knew. This was intentional, it makes it all so much worse… A lot of it was his obsession for me, and how he wanted me back, and how he wanted to be with me.” In a shocking testimony, Pedro’s former prison mate stated that Pedro confessed to him about strangulating Christian with a moving strap in 13 minutes. After enough deliberation, Bravo was convicted of first-degree murder, false imprisonment, poisoning, tampering with physical evidence, and many other charges.

Pedro was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on August 15, 2014. Despite the verdict, he insisted upon his innocence. However, in one of the letters obtained from his time in prison, he had reportedly referred to himself as “a monster for hurting Chris the way I did.” He filed an appeal in 2016, but the court of Florida rejected the claims. As of writing, Pedro Bravo is serving his life sentence at Okeechobee Correctional Institution in Okeechobee, Florida.

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