A crowd of about 30 gathered Thursday night in Gainesville at the corner of University Avenue and NW 13th Street in a candlelight vigil for Christian Aguilar.
The 7 p.m. vigil was held concurrently with one in Miami, where Aguilar’s family resides.
Candles, photos of Aguilar and donation boxes adorned the sidewalk and University of Florida sign at the intersection.
Aguilar, 18, has been missing since Sept. 20, when he was last seen on video with an acquaintance, Pedro Bravo. Aguilar’s family and police then organized a search for the missing man.
Bravo has been charged with murdering the UF student. The Gainesville Police Department has called off the volunteer portion of the search. However, investigators are still following leads in the case.
University of Florida political science major Angelina LaPiana organized the vigil. Her mother helped coordinate the vigil in Miami. LaPiana and Aguilar attended the same middle school, although they never met.
“I found out about this about three days after he disappeared,” LaPiana said. “Since then, I’ve been searching 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the family, and I’ve become really close to them. It’s something that’s very, very close to my heart. I pray every day that we find him.”
LaPiana said she hopes the vigil spreads awareness and keeps the search for Aguilar alive.