Yvonne Baldelli Update: Remains found in Panama ID'd as missing Calif. woman, officials say

Yvonne Baldelli in an undated photo.
Personal photo

(CBS/AP) PANAMA CITY - Officials in Panama have identified the skeletal remains of Yvonne Lee Baldelli, a California woman who disappeared in 2011 in Panama after arriving in the country with her boyfriend, authorities said Wednesday.

Pictures: Remains of missing Calif. woman found in Panama

DNA testing confirmed that the remains found last week on the island province of Bocas del Toro came from Baldelli, who was last seen there in November 2011, prosecutor Vielka Gisela Broce said.

Broce said a man who was cutting bushes found a bag containing Baldelli's remains on Aug. 20 and contacted police.

Law enforcement sources reportedly told Fox News a human skull was found in a "green military style" backpack along with some bones and women's clothing.

The 42-year-old woman from Laguna Nigel, Calif. moved to Panama with boyfriend Brian Brimager in September 2011 in search of a fresh start. Her family reported her missing the following January after she failed to show up for a family reunion.

Baldelli's family has said Baldelli, a clothing designer, was frequently out of touch so they did not immediately suspect anything was wrong.

Panama police say Brimager, a retired marine, left Panama for Costa Rica and the United States about 10 days after last being seen with Baldelli.

Fox News reports prosecutors in the U.S. allege Brimager traveled to Costa Rica as part of a plan to make it appear as though Baldelli had left him for another man.

Brimager has reportedly denied any involvement in Baldelli's disappearance

Baldelli's sister, Michelle Faust, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Brimager is being held in California on obstruction of justice charges.

"The whole family has been very sad and desperate ... we didn't know where Yvonne was," Faust said. "The good thing about today is that once the evidence (from the remains) is studied we will be able to bring her home."

Panamanian investigators and FBI agents are working on the case.

Last year, FBI agents and Panamanian forensic specialists found traces of blood on the walls and floor of the hostel El Sapo in the Bocas del Toro archipelago, which is the popular tourist spot where Baldelli was last seen.

Complete coverage of Yvonne Baldelli on Crimesider