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Governor joins search for missing Florida student

Posted at 10:00 AM, Sep 29, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-29 10:00:35-04

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) – Florida Gov. Rick Scott is joining the search Saturday for a university student last seen nine days ago.

Scott will search in a wooded area in Gainesville for University of Florida student Christian Aguilar, the governor’s office said.

The search will take place the same day a Florida teen is scheduled to make his first court appearance in connection with the killing.

Pedro Bravo, 18, is charged with murder in the killing of Aguilar, authorities said.

At the court hearing, a judge will assess the case and decide whether the teen will get bail, said Ron Kozlowski, his attorney.

Aguilar’s body has not been found. He was was last seen about 6 p.m. September 20, said Gainesville Police Officer Ben Tobias.

“We would … encourage property owners, residential or business, who may have lime rock roads on their property, that were accessible to the general public, to search those properties for any suspicious areas of ground that appear to have been disturbed,” Tobias said. “We are also requesting information from anyone who may have seen a suspicious vehicle, likened to a Blue Chevy Blazer, in any remote areas on the night of Thursday, September 20.”

Police told Aguilar’s family about the murder charge — and, with it, the presumption the college student was dead.

“Christian’s family is heartbroken, as expected,” the police spokesman said.

Bravo told investigators he got into “an altercation with Aguilar” the night the college student went missing, police said.

Bravo then left Aguilar in a parking lot in the central Florida city, prompting police to warn that Aguilar may be disoriented and/or seriously injured.

Aguilar’s father told CNN affiliate WCJB that his son disappeared after a fight over a girl.

After talking with police a day after his disappearance, Bravo was held for mental examination after threatening to harm or kill himself. He was later charged with depriving a victim of medical care, a third-degree felony, and was in custody at the time he was charged with murder, according to Tobias.

Authorities have used helicopters and K-9 units to search for Aguilar, to no avail. His relatives have plastered the area with fliers, taken to Twitter to generate leads and invited a nonprofit search group to help look for him alongside family members and police.

Gainesville police posted a fresh plea Friday night, on the department’s Facebook page, asking volunteers to report to the Florida Farm Bureau at 9 a.m. Saturday to resume the search for Aguilar.

Bravo’s lawyer said his family initially volunteered to help in the search, only to be politely turned down by the victim’s relatives.

CNN’s Joe Sutton and Greg Botelho contributed to this report.