A couple months ago, we gazed navelly at a woman who used to reside in Tustin turning up pregnant and presumably murdered on the Big Island of Hawaii, where a missing man some had referred to as her fiance was being sought for questioning.
A similar tragedy is playing out in Panama, where officials found the remains of a Laguna Niguel woman who went missing in 2011.
Yvonne Lee Baldelli, 42, when missing in November 2011, which was two months after she arrived with her boyfriend to start a new life in Panama. A green military style backpack was found by a man cutting brush on the island province of Bocas del Toro on Aug. 20. Inside was a skull, some bones and women's clothing. DNA testing confirmed that the remains came from Baldelli, Panama City prosecutors announced Wednesday.
Brian Brimager, a retired Marine, left Panama for Costa Rica and the United States about 10 days after last being seen with Baldelli, according to Panama City police. Mere weeks after the Vista resident arrived in San Diego County, he married the mother of his younger daughter.
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He has been indicted in federal court in San Diego for allegedly murdering Baldelli and then making it appear to her family and friends she was still alive through fake emails that indicated she had run off to Costa Rica with another man.
Brimager, who has denied any role in Baldelli's disappearance, is currently being held on charges of obstruction of justice and making a false statement to a federal agent in connection with her death.
Meanwhile, Baldelli's family is working with U.S. and Panamanian officials to bring Yvonne's remains back home.