Mother of American woman missing in Panama says she's desperate for answers

An American mother searching for her daughter in Panama said Monday she's desperate for answers, while authorities name an ex-Marine a person of interest in the case.

Yvonne Baldelli, a 42-year-old California woman, was last seen near Panama's border with Costa Rica in November. She was reported missing by her family in January.

"As you can imagine, as a mom, it's very hard to leave here without Yvonne in my hand," Baldelli's mother, Lillian Faust, told from her hotel in Panama.

Faust, who was too distraught to speak about the case in detail, said Panamanian authorities are "doing everything they can" to uncover what happened to Baldelli.

The FBI confirmed to that they are assisting in the search for the woman, though referred all media inquiries to authorities in Panama.

A Panama police official told the Associated Press on Sunday that Baldelli's former boyfriend, Brian Brimager, raised the interest of investigators and is a person of interest. Panama authorities said Brimager, a former Marine, left Panama for Costa Rica and the United States some 10 days after last being seen with Baldelli in November.

On Thursday, FBI and Panamanian forensic investigators reportedly visited the hotel where Baldelli and Brimager were staying.

Panama national police official Alexis Munoz told the AP that witnesses at the hotel reported that the couple had a "violent" relationship and frequently fought and argued.

Baldelli's mother said she had never met Brimager, who she thinks is from Southern California. She said authorities had not told them that Brimager is suspected of anything.

"I do not know, but if he knows something I would love for him to speak," she told the AP.

Baldelli's sister, Michelle Faust, said the missing woman had gone to Panama in September to design and produce clothing to sell on the islands' beaches.

She said the family had talked with the boyfriend after he returned to the U.S., but declined to give any details of what was said.

Munoz said Brimager had worked while in Panama as a performer in bars playing guitar and singing for tips.

According to a Facebook page devoted to the search for Baldelli, the woman's two dogs are also missing.

"Yvonne's *loves* her dogs, they are her babies, finding them may bring us closer to finding her," reads a statement on the page.'s Cristina Corbin and the Associated Press contributed to this report.