NEW: The student's father says he hopes to remember his son with joy
Christian Aguilar, 18, was last seen on September 20
Police used dental records to help identify his remains
Another 18-year-old has been charged with first-degree murder
Human remains discovered last week in Levy County, Florida, have been identified as those of missing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar.
Dental records were used to identify the body, Gainesville police said. Further tests will be conducted to determine his manner of death.
Aguilar’s remains were found on Friday, but police did not identify them until Monday.
“Right now, we are just going to start with our grieving, and hoping that the authorities give us the body in the next couple of days,” Carlos Aguilar, the student’s father, told reporters in Gainesville, CNN affiliate WFOR reported.
He thanked the scores of volunteers who helped search for his son.
“I’m going to continue until, you know, I go through this and I find a way that I’m going to be able to remember my son with joy,” he said.
Aguilar, 18, was last seen on September 20.
Eight days later, Pedro Bravo was charged with first-degree murder in the student’s death.
Bravo initially told investigators he got into “an altercation with Aguilar” the night the college student went missing, police said.
The suspect said he then left Aguilar in a parking lot in this north-central Florida city, prompting Gainesville police to warn that Aguilar may have been disoriented and/or seriously injured.
Aguilar’s father told CNN affiliate WCJB in Gainesville that his son disappeared after a fight over a girl.
Bravo, who is also 18, changed his account of what happened “after being confronted with evidence that disputed his initial statements,” Gainesville Police spokesman Ben Tobias said late last month.
Aguilar’s backpack was found inside a suitcase in Bravo’s closet, according to Tobias. At the time, the police spokesman said that blood found in several locations in Bravo’s vehicle would undergo an expedited analysis and be compared against known DNA samples of Aguilar.
Authorities used helicopters and K-9 units to search for Aguilar. His relatives plastered the area with fliers, used Twitter to generate leads and invited a nonprofit search group to help look for him alongside family members and police.
According to CNN affiliate WJXT in Jacksonville, hunters in a rural part of Levy County found human remains Friday and notified police in Gainesville, about an hour away.