The former marine Brian Brimager killed his girlfriend Yvonne Baldelli in late 2011. The ongoing investigation has revealed he dismembered her body, stuffed it into his "military style" backpack, and threw it into the jungle on Isla Carenero in Bocas del Toro, Panama - where they were living - and then began to attempt to enact an elaborate scheme to cover up his crime. Yvonne's body was not discovered until almost two years after the murder.
As you probably know, I've been involved in the investigation since I was first contacted by her family members in February 2012. Baldelli went missing in late 2011, and shortly thereafter her friends and family started looking for clues in Panama.
Initially there was some hesitation between the family members, because they were told by the US Embassy in Panama "whatever you do, don't contact Don Winner from Panama Guide." And why in the name of hell would they say something like that to the family of a missing person in Panama? Because I had made them look bad on several previous cases. The FBI in Panama quite simply failed to do their jobs - and once I got involved then the ball got rolling - and quickly. Wild Bill, his partner in crime Laura Michelle Reese, Javier Martin - three serial killers who are now in prison and who would have probably gotten away with their crimes had I not gotten involved. Not blowing my own horn, just facts.
One of Yvonne Baldelli's sisters said "screw it - if this guy can make things happen, I'm calling him." After awhile the rest of the family members came around. They figured there was nothing to lose. I promised them I would not publish a word until the primary suspect - Yvonne Baldelli's boyfriend Brian Brimager - was behind bars.
Truthfully, I didn't do much to help push this case forward. I do know that after I got involved then all of a sudden the FBI deployed search divers to Bocas del Toro in Panama to scour the ocean floor near the building where Yvonne Baldelli was murdered, looking for evidence. The US government and prosecutors in San Diego got more active in their efforts to investigate and prosecute the case. Maybe I played a very small role in somehow pushing that ball a little, to get it rolling all that much faster.
But whatever - the bad guy is now behind bars and he will be there for a long time. Nothing can bring Yvonne back, but at the very least her family will see justice done. This upcoming CBS 48 Hours program will document the events of the past two years, as only they can. Don't miss it when it airs at 10:00 pm EST.
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