Vista man accused of killing girlfriend in Panama appears in cou - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Vista man accused of killing girlfriend in Panama appears in court

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A federal court hearing for a Vista man accused of murder took place Wednesday in downtown San Diego.

Investigators say Brian Brimager dismembered his girlfriend Yvonne Baldelli's body in Panama, where they were living in 2011, then concocted an elaborate scheme to cover up her death.

Brimager was in court to discuss the health of a key witness in the case – Yvonne's sister Michelle Valenzuela.

"My mom has been such a champion for Yvonne, she loved her little sister so much," daughter Lauren Beyer said.

Beyer's mother Michelle is battling stage IV breast cancer, which has spread to her bones, so prosecutors are requesting to depose her.

"We want her deposition taken so no matter what happens, she is able to tell her testimony whenever the trial begins," Beyer said.

Prosecutors allege Brimager sent emails to Yvonne's family members, posing as Yvonne, so they would believe she was still alive.

"She was one of the main people that he was in contact with when he was pretending to be my aunt Yvonne, and so it's very important that my mom is able to tell both the communications and his behavior towards her and the family during that whole time when we were looking for her," Beyer said.

Yvonne's family traveled to Panama to find her, after sensing something just wasn't right. Then in 2013, investigators in Panama discovered skeletal remains in a military style duffel bag that matched Yvonne's DNA. Brimager was arrested on obstruction of justice charges, and faces murder charges in Panama.

"We're ready, we're ready for this chapter in our lives to end. We're ready for him to go to prison to do his time, and to leave us alone with our grief and our memories. We want this over," Beyer said.

At Wednesday's court hearing, Judge Barry Moskowitz cleared the courtroom to protect the confidentially of the breast cancer patient, whose health record would be discussed. The rest of the hearing took place in closed session, so no one knows at this point, what was decided, or if prosecutors will be allowed to take the deposition.

CBS News 8 did see Brimager's new wife at the hearing Wednesday, who had no comment.

You can watch more about Yvonne Baldelli's disappearance on a new episode of "48 Hours" on Saturday, November 15 at 10 p. m. here on CBS 8.

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