Ex-Marine Charged With Murder of Girlfriend

     SAN DIEGO (CN) – A retired Marine has been charged with murdering his girlfriend, dismembering her body and dumping her remains in a Panamanian jungle in 2011, the Justice Department said Friday.
     Brian Karl Brimager, 37, has been in federal custody since June 2013 on charges of obstruction, making false statements to a federal officer and falsifying records – all related to the murder investigation of his former girlfriend, Yvonne Baldelli.
     A federal grand jury indicted Brimager on first-degree murder charges. He was arraigned on the superseding indictment and pleaded not guilty on Friday.
     According to federal prosecutors, Brimager and Baldelli moved from Los Angeles to the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama, in September 2011. They rented a room in a small hostel on Isla Carenero, a small island near Bocas that is only reachable by boat.
     Almost immediately after settling in, Brimager began emailing another girlfriend – the mother of his young daughter – and discussed his plans to move back to California. Brimager never mentioned Baldelli in these emails, the indictment states.
     Around this time, the indictment alleges that Brimager began physically abusing Baldelli. And around Nov. 26, 2011, Brimager murdered the woman, dismembered her body and dumped her remains in a remote jungle area on Isla Carenero, prosecutors say.
     Brimager then concocted an elaborate scheme to cover up Baldelli’s murder, destroying evidence, making false statements to investigators and sending a series of emails to the woman’s family and friends to make it appear she was alive and well, according to prosecutors.
     In the emails, Brimager – presenting himself as Baldelli – said the woman had gone to live with another man in Costa Rica. He then proceeded to withdraw funds from Baldelli’s bank account between Panama and Costa Rica to corroborate the story, prosecutors say.
     Brimager allegedly dumped a bloody mattress in the ocean, but not before using Baldelli’s computer to do Internet searches on “washing mattress” and “washing mattress blood stain,” according to the indictment.
     Baldelli’s skeletal remains were found in the Isla Carenero jungle nearly two years after her murder.
     Assistant U.S. Attorneys W. Mark Conover and Shane Harrigan are prosecuting the case.
     Counsel for Brimager declined comment.

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