Uncredited / AP
University of Florida student Christian Aguilar, 18.
CEDAR KEY, Fla. – The parents of missing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar believe that the body found in Levy County is their son, his father said Saturday.
“I just want to make sure that everybody knows that our prayers have been heard. We, as a family believe that Christian has been found, but we will wait until the authorities confirm it, Carlos Aguilar said during a news conference in Gainesville.
“At this moment the only think we want to say as a family, is to thank every single person that supports our family during this horrible time," he added.
Aguilar's parents also they had not seen the remains, so the identification of the body was not confirmed yet, but they said they were glad they had a sense of closure.
The body was found around 2:30 p.m. Friday by hunters at the Gulf Hammock Hunting Club, east of Cedar Key, according to the Gainesville Sun. Gainesville police said they responded to the area off State Road 24 on Parker Boulevard, at the request of the Levy County Sheriff’s Office. The area is about 60 miles southwest of Gainesville.
Christian Aguilar was last seen in Gainesville with a friend, Pedro Bravo, also 18, who has been charged with first-degree murder. Police say Bravo told them he beat Aguilar unconscious and left him in a parking lot.
The body was found around 2:30 p.m. Friday by hunters at the Gulf Hammock Hunting Club, police said.
"Two young fellas were looking for firewood by themselves," Fred Oliver, a volunteer with the sheriff’s office, told the Gainesville Sun. "They picked up the scent, the odor of something dead."
Brad Mcclenny / AP
Officers drive on Parker Boulevard off State Road 24 near Cedar Key, Fla., on Friday, after a body that may be missing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar was found.
Oliver told the Sun that the young men thought they had stumbled onto the remains of a dead deer, and maybe they could get a set of antlers. What they found was a decomposed, partially buried body.
"It was obviously human," Oliver said, adding that it was near the dirt road.
Authorities said they found blue Vans shoes, duct tape and blue jeans with the decomposed remains.
The clothes matched the description of what Aguilar was wearing when he was last seen Sept. 20 with Bravo at a Gainesville Best Buy.
The remains need to be identified through forensic methods, but Oliver told the Sun, "They're almost sure they know who it is."
Police initially charged Bravo with depriving a crime victim of medical care, but he was charged with murder after police said they found blood in Bravo's SUV and found Aguilar's backpack hidden inside a suitcase in Bravo's closet.
More content from NBCNews.com:
- Navy cruiser, submarine collide off East Coast; no injuries reported
- Lemonade stand vs. cancer: Boy raises $80,000 to aid research
- Woman dining with family dies after car hits Texas pizzeria
- Bachelor party rescued after wine cruise hits rocks
- Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes threaten central states