FBI name ex-Marine boyfriend ‘person of interest’ in hunt for missing U.S. woman who moved to Panama to start new life after divorce
Panama police have named the boyfriend of an American woman who disappeared from the country in November as a person of interest in the ongoing case.
Yvonne Baldelli, 41, went missing three months after moving to the Central American country to start fresh.
Ms Baldelli set up house with her boyfriend at the time, Brian Brimager, shortly after she had been fired from her job at Procter and Gamble in California and going through a divorce.
The pair rented an apartment together on the Panamanian island of Carenero and Mr Brimager, a former marine, played guitar in local bars.
Ms Baldelli’s parents last heard from her by email in the end of November, but then nothing since.
Mr Brimager said that she had run away to Costa Rica and taken up with another man, but her passport records do not register any travel to the neighboring country.
Her family became concerned when Mr Brimager stopped answering their calls and returned to California in December, shortly after her disappearance.
Her sister Michelle Valenzuela said that she sensed that something bad was going to happen when she sister headed off to Panama, telling CBS that she had an ‘ominous’ feeling.
Aside from her senses, the first tangible clue they had was when the weekly emails stopped coming.
Fox News Latino cites police sources that say the couple had a violent relationship during their time in Panama and have suggested that the possibility of a crime of passion has not been ruled out.
Another unusual move by Mr Brimager was to become engaged and marry another woman in the months immediately following his girlfriend’s disappearance.
Mr Brimager has since taken down his Facebook page, and neither he nor his new wife are responding to press calls.
Since the declaration of him as a formal ‘person of interest’, the FBI announced that much of their investigation will take place in the U.S. That said, they will also be sending divers down to Panama to search the area around the home where Ms Baldelli and Mr Brimager lived.
Some of her relatives flew to Panama to look for her in January after she did not respond to emails about a planned family reunion.
Local investigations have turned up no solid clues about Ms Baldelli’s whereabouts, or the location of her dog named Georgia May.
Her family launched an effort to enlist local volunteers to search via Facebook, and the FBI has since become involved in the case.
FBI investigators are also officially looking into Mr Brimager and his connection to the case.
‘What we want is to bring Yvonne home and show that she’s loved and cared about,’ her father James Faust said.