photo from media partner 10News
Panamanian officials say they have identified the skeletal remains of an Orange County woman who disappeared in 2011 in Panama after arriving in the country with her boyfriend.
Prosecutor Vielka Gisela Broce says DNA testing confirmed that the remains found last week on the island province of Bocas del Toro are Yvonne Lee Baldelli, who was last seen there in November 2011. Her family reported her missing the following January.
The 42-year-old woman from Laguna Niguel, California, came to Panama with boyfriend Brian Brimager, a retired Marine from Vista. Panama police say Brimager left Panama for Costa Rica and the United States some 10 days after last being seen with Baldelli.
James Faust, Baldelli's father, spoke with 10News about Wednesday's news of Baldelli's remains being identified and what he wants to see happen to Brimager, the man suspected of killing her.
"There's nothing worse for a parent to not know where their children's remains are," said Faust from his home in Rochester, New York.
The news that remains found are those of Baldelli was a long time coming for Faust and his family.
"We are very satisfied that we can bring Yvonne's remains home and have a dignified interment for her," he said.
Prosecutors say Brimager killed her and then weaved an elaborate hoax to make it seem like Baldelli had left Panama to be with another man in Costa Rica. They say he used false emails and ATM withdrawals in an effort to convince Baldelli's family that she was still alive, but they never believed it.
"Some 18 months ago we were convinced he killed her and somehow did away with her remains," said Faust.
Those remains were found by a Panamanian citizen in a green, military-style duffel bag.
Faust said the family has been told Panamanian authorities will bring murder charges against Brimager, which is something he is looking forward to.
"We want him to be extradited to serve his time in Panama because that's where he committed the crime," Faust said. "Whatever disgusting thing he did after he murdered her, she is not feeling any pain. She's not suffering."
Brimager will soon be in federal court to face 10 obstruction of justice charges and one count of lying to a federal officer. If convicted of all the obstruction of justice charges, he could get a 200-year plus sentence.
In Panama, if Brimager is charged and convicted of murder, he could get life in prison. Panama does not have the death penalty.