In September 2011, the former Marine and his girlfriend moved together from Los Angeles, California, to the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama.
There they rented a room in a cozy five-unit hostel on Isla Carenero, a small island near Bocas reachable only by boat. Almost immediately upon arrival, the Marine began e-mailing another girlfriend, the mother of his young daughter.
In the e-mails, he discussed plans to move back to California to live with this other girlfriend and help raise their daughter. The e-mails did not mention his girlfriend in Panama.
Began physical abuse
The charges allege that at the same time he was e-mailing the other girlfriend, the Marine began physically abusing the one he was with. Among other damage, the beatings caused bruises around her eyes and on her arms.
The indictment alleges that sometime in November 2011, he murdered the girlfriend, dismembered her body and disposed of the body parts in a remote jungle area on Isla Carenero.
Following her murder, the Marine allegedly engaged in an elaborate scheme to cover up the crime. The scheme included destroying evidence, giving false information to law enforcement and sending a series of e-mails purportedly from the dead woman in order to make it appear to her friends and family that she was still alive.
According to the indictment, the Marine created a cover story to explain the dead woman’s whereabouts and, in the days and months that followed, engaged in a series of acts designed to back up his story, mostly involving e-mails sent from her computer claiming that she was alive and living in Costa Rica with another man.
To corroborate this story, after murdering the woman the Marine withdrew money from her bank account at an ATM to make it appear that she was on her way to Costa Rica. He also tried to substantiate his cover story by making another withdrawal from her bank account when he traveled through Costa Rica on his way back to the U.S.
Dumping a bloody mattress
The indictment also alleges that he tried to conceal his crime by disposing of a bloody mattress involved in the murder in the ocean. Within a few hours of the murder and prior to dumping the mattress in the ocean, he conducted two Internet searches on her computer, one for “washing mattress” and a second for “washing mattress blood stain.”
The indictment also charges the Marine with making materially false statements to the FBI during an interview on March 21, 2012. The indictment alleges that he falsely stated that the woman took her white Sony VAIO laptop with her when she left Panama, when in fact, the laptop was found in his possession months after the murder.
The woman’s skeletal remains were found in the jungle almost two years after her murder.
Brian Karl Brimager, 37, was indicted by a grand jury in San Diego, California, for the murder of Los Angeles resident Yvonne Baldelli. He has pleaded not guilty.
Brimager has been in custody since June 2013 on charges of obstruction of justice, giving false statements to a federal officer and falsifying records all related to the same murder investigation.