Vista man jailed for allegedly killing girlfriend in Panama in 2011

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A Vista man was in custody Friday at the downtown San
Diego federal jail on suspicion of killing his girlfriend of about two years in
Panama in 2011 and staging an elaborate cover-up.

Brian Brimager, 37, was indicted Wednesday on charges of obstruction of
justice and making a false statement to a federal officer, according to U-T San
Diego. The newspaper also reported that though the indictment does not charge
Brimager with murder, it says he killed Yvonne Baldelli, 42, at a hostel on
Isla Carenero, a small island near Bocas del Toro, Panama.

Brimager, a former Marine who married one month after Baldelli's
disappearance, was arrested at his Vista home Thursday morning and arraigned in
federal court in downtown San Diego hours later, U-T San Diego reported. His
wife was seen sitting front row at the arraignment, crying.

Brimager, who pleaded not guilty to all counts, faces 20 years in prison
on each of 10 obstruction of justice charges and five years for the false
statement charge, if convicted.

Baldelli was last seen the evening of Nov. 26. 2011, leaving an island
steakhouse with Brimager, authorities said. At the time of her disappearance,
Baldelli, an Orange County resident, and Brimager had been in Panama for about
two months.

According to published reports, the couple decided to relocate there
after she was laid off and Brimager's military career came to an end. But the
indictment says that not long after arriving at a hostel in Panama, Brimager
began emailing the mother of his young daughter, talking about plans to move
back to California to raise their child, U-T San Diego reported.

There were also reports that the couple was overheard having loud
arguments at the hostel and that Baldelli was later seen with bruises around
her eyes and arms.

After Baldelli disappearance, Brimager allegedly sent fake emails from
Baldelli to friends and family saying she had hooked up with another man and
was having a great time in Costa Rica.

He also allegedly withdrew money from her bank accounts and told the
hostel manager that he threw the mattress from his room into the ocean because
his dog had urinated on it. The indictment against Brimager says an Internet
search was conducted via Baldelli's laptop on Nov. 27, 2011, for “washing
mattress blood stain,” U-T San Diego reported.

Days later, Brimager returned to San Diego and about a month later, he
was married to his daughter's mother. Baldelli was reported missing by her

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hamilton Arendsen told reporters outside of
court Thursday that Brimager was still under investigation in Panama.

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