Ex-Marine charged with killing girlfriend in Panama - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Ex-Marine charged with killing girlfriend in Panama

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Brian Karl Brimager Brian Karl Brimager
Yvonne Baldelli Yvonne Baldelli

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A federal grand jury in San Diego Friday indicted a retired Marine on a murder charge for allegedly killing his girlfriend in Panama, then trying to cover up the crime by sending emails to her friends and family to make it appear that she was still alive.

Brian Karl Brimager, 37, pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge stemming from the murder of Yvonne Baldelli, who's believed to have been killed on or around Nov. 26, 2011.

According to the indictment, Brimager and Baldelli moved together from Los Angeles to the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama, in September 2011, and rented a room in a five-unit hostel on Isla Carenero, a small island near Bocas reachable only by boat.

Almost immediately upon arrival, Brimager started emailing another girlfriend -- the mother of his young daughter -- and discussed plans to move back to California to live with that girlfriend and help raise their daughter, the indictment alleges. The emails did not mention Baldelli.

At the same time he was emailing the other girlfriend, Brimager began physically abusing Baldelli, causing injuries that included bruising on her arms and around her eyes, according to the indictment.

After murdering the victim, Brimager dismembered Baldelli's body and disposed of the parts in a remote jungle area on Isla Carenero, court papers allege.

Brimager then engaged in a scheme to cover up the crime, including destroying evidence, giving false information to law enforcement and sending emails purportedly from Baldelli to her friends and family to make it appear that she was still alive, the indictment alleges.

The emails, among other things, falsely claimed that Baldelli was alive and living with another man in Costa Rica, according to the indictment.

To corroborate his story, Brimager withdrew money from her bank accounts at an ATM to make it appear that she was on her way to Costa Rica, according to the indictment, which also alleges that he disposed of a bloody mattress.

Within hours of killing Baldelli and prior to dumping the mattress in the ocean, Brimager conducted two Internet searches on her computer, one for "washing mattress" and a second for "washing mattress blood stain," the indictment alleges.

Baldelli's skeletal remains were found in the jungle almost two years later.

Brimager has been in U.S. custody since June 2013 on charges of obstruction of justice, giving false statements to a federal officer and falsifying records, all related to the Baldelli murder investigation.

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