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By Jim Shilander and Andrea Swayne
Former Dana Point resident Brian Karl Brimager, 37, was indicted for murder by a federal grand jury in San Diego on Friday, prosecutors said in a news release.
Brimager, a former Marine, is accused of the first degree murder of Yvonne Baldelli in November 2011—while the couple was serving as caretakers of the hostel in Bocas Del Toro, Panama they moved into upon arrival to the country—dismembering her and disposing of her body in the jungle.
Baldelli’s remains were discovered in Panama in 2013, leading to Brimager’s arrest later that year.
Brimager is also accused of obstruction of justice, falsification of records and making false statements to FBI agents investigating the case in 2012, when he claimed Baldelli had left him to live in Costa Rica around the night she went missing.
Brimager pleaded not guilty.
The indictment also alleges that before dumping the blood-stained mattress involved in the murder, Brimager searched the Internet for “washing mattress” and “washing mattress blood stain,” using Baldelli’s laptop. In an effort to make it appear she was still alive, he sent emails to Baldelli’s family and friends from her email address saying she was living with another man in Costa Rica and withdrew money from her accounts.
Brimager and Baldelli met in Dana Point in 2009. The couple moved from Los Angeles to Panama in September 2011.
Shortly after the move, Brimager began emailing another woman—the mother of his young daughter—discussing plans for moving back to California to live with her and help raise their child. The emails made no mention of Baldelli. At the same time Brimager began communicating with the other woman, he became physically abusive to Baldelli, the indictment said.
The case is being tried in federal court due to the alleged murder of a U.S. national taking place on foreign soil. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for June 29 at 10 a.m.