Panama authorities charge Brian Brimager in death of Yvonne Baldelli

Brimager charged in US with obstruction

SAN DIEGO - A former Marine pleaded not guilty in federal court Friday in connection with the disappearance of his girlfriend, and hours later, authorities in Panama charged him in her death.

The family of Yvonne Baldelli had strong opinions of the man accused of killing her, former Marine Brian Brimager.

"He seemed to be very arrogant to me," said Baldelli's father, James Faust.

Baldelli's niece, Lauren Beyer, said, "To say the least, it's very offensive and disturbing."

Both family members recalled Brimager's carriage in court -- ramrod straight and speaking forcefully as might a Marine still serving.

Beyer thought back to her childhood with her aunt.

"And when I would be afraid of monsters, she would say, 'Monsters don't exist.' But today, I saw a monster come into the room, chained like an animal and that is a monster. They do exist; it was horrible," said Beyer.

Baldelli and Brimager moved from Orange County to a hostel on Isla Caranero off the coast of Panama in 2011.

The relationship was rocky, though. Witnesses told of violent arguments and beatings.

Baldelli disappeared in November 2011.

Federal prosecutors said they found an Internet search on her laptop for "washing mattress blood stain." They believe the bloody mattress had been thrown into the ocean.

Brimager is accused of generating false emails and ATM withdrawals to make it appear that Baldelli had run off with another man.

Months later, Baldelli's remains were discovered in a green military style duffel bag.

A report from Panama indicates Brimager has been charged with murder and that extradition papers are in the works.

U.S. charges total 13 so far, including:

-- 10 counts of obstruction of justice (each worth 20 years in prison)
-- 1 count of making false statements to a federal officer
-- 2 new counts of falsifying records

Faust said he wants the maximum punishment.

"Even though that individual may have two children, he doesn't deserve to have a chance to be with his daughters because he deprived me and my family of being with our daughter, Yvonne," said Faust.

Beyer was near tears when she added, "Just an amazing gift from God and we all miss her very much; it's terrible that she's gone."

Brimager's attorney said he plans to file an amended motion to dismiss the charges and that hearing expected in March.

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