Local ex-Marine accused in girlfriend's death in Panama - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Local ex-Marine accused in girlfriend's death in Panama

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - For the first time in nearly two years, the family of a woman who went missing on an island off Panama laid eyes on her ex-boyfriend, a San Diego Marine accused in her murder.

Brian Brimager, 37, was arrested at his home in Vista. Prosecutors say he killed 42-year-old Yvonne Baldelli then disposed of her body on a small Panamanian island in November 2011.

"I believe he is the only one who knows where she is and that hopefully he will come forward with that information," sister Michelle Faust said.

Baldelli and Brimager had been in a relationship for a couple of years when they decided to move together to Isla Carenero for a fresh start. Soon afterward, according to an indictment, Brimager began emailing another woman identified as Kristin Werkhoven, with whom he had a young daughter, making plans to get back together. Werkhoven and Brimager are now married.

Prosecutors say Brimager physically abused then murdered Yvonne Baldelli, then tried to cover up his crime, disposing of a bloody mattress, making withdrawals from her bank account and sending emails from her computer indicating she was moving to Costa Rica with another man.

"The emails were sent to family members for the purpose of making it appear that she was still alive and living in Costa Rica," Assistant US Attorney Hamilton Arendsen said.

Twenty months after the alleged muder, Brimager was arrested at his home in Vista on Thursday and charged with obstructing justice and making false statements.

Baldelli's family says they want justice, but know it will take time. They told News 8 only Panamanian officials could charge Brimager with murder. Authorities in Panama say they are investigating the case with assistance from the FBI.

"This is a long journey. This is a marathon,not a sprint," Faust said.

Brian Brimager remains in custody, and is scheduled to have a bail hearing on Friday. If ultimately convicted of obstructing justice, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

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