Los Angeles

Investigation Into Missing California Woman Focuses on a 5-Hour Gap in Timeline

Amanda Custer is believed to have been kidnapped by her boyfriend, who was arrested after a lengthy standoff in downtown Los Angeles

Homicide investigators searching for a Southern California woman believed to have been abducted by a boyfriend are trying to find out what happened during a five-hour gap in a timeline of his movements after she was seen being placed into his car, a detective said Thursday.

Investigators also confirmed that suspect Robert Camou, 27, is the person seen in a barroom video rapping about killing and burying a woman the night after Amanda Custer disappeared, Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Scott Hoglund told a news conference.

Camou has not been charged in the disappearance but is jailed on prior allegations of domestic violence involving Custer, Hoglund said.

Camou, arrested July 30, appeared in court the next day but proceedings were postponed when he said he wanted to represent himself.

Custer was last seen the morning of July 29 outside Camou's home in suburban Monrovia, east of Los Angeles, following some type of altercation between Custer and Camou, Hoglund said.

"Like I reported earlier, there was some evidence of an assault in the bedroom of Mr. Camou. There was blood recovered from the bedroom as well as there was evidence and witnesses that stated Mr. Camou placed the victim Amanda Custer's lifeless body in the back storage cargo area of a 2017 gray Prius," Hoglund said.

Police tracked Camou in several cities before he reached Lytle Creek and turned south. There is a five-hour gap from there to when he was next seen in the midafternoon at an ATM in the foothill city of Azusa, which is back toward Monrovia, Hoglund said.

"So we have a five-hour gap of time where we do not know where Mr. Camuo or Amanda Custer were," he said. "This is where we're seeking the public's assistance."

Police located Camou in his car at 2:45 a.m. on July 30 in downtown Los Angeles. He refused to surrender for five hours until a SWAT team filled his car with tear gas.

Soon after, a video surfaced of an open mic session in a downtown LA bar. It appeared to show Camou clumsily performing a profanity-laced rap about killing and burying a woman. The man who recorded the close-up video told news media he later saw Camou in TV reports.

"Investigators have vetted that video and have determined that was the suspect in this case, Robert Camou, rapping about killing a female and burying her in the dirt," Hoglund said.

The detective said examination of the Prius found blood in the cargo area and an item he described as a "digging tool," but would not be more specific. Asked if the blood was from Custer, he said it was still being tested in the crime lab.

Since the disappearance, search teams have been looking for Custer in the areas of Mount Baldy and Lytle Creek. Hoglund said Lytle Creek hadn't been ruled out but the search was expanding westward to Azusa Canyon.

Rick Custer, the missing woman's father, appealed for the public to call in tips to authorities.

"We just want to bring Amanda home," he told the press conference.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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