Police issue public plea for help finding missing Monrovia woman
Authorities and the father of a Monrovia woman believed to have been kidnapped by her boyfriend 11 days ago are pleading for the public’s help in finding her.
Amanda Custer, 31, has been missing since July 29.
Her boyfriend, Robert Camou, 27, was taken into custody the following morning in downtown Los Angeles. He remains jailed on domestic violence charges that are not related to the case.
Investigators have found no remains but say Camou remains the prime and only suspect in Custer’s disappearance.
Authorities believe the couple were involved in an altercation on the morning of July 29, Sheriff’s Lt. Scott Hoglund said at a news conference Thursday.
Police responded about 8:15 a.m. to a domestic violence call at Camou’s home in the 600 block of Vaquero Road in Monrovia. Inside his bedroom, they found evidence of an assault, including blood, Hoglund said.
Investigators suspect that Camou took Custer from the home against her will.
“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.
About 18 hours later — at 2:45 a.m. on July 30 — LAPD officers found Camou sleeping in the Prius near 2nd and Hill streets in downtown Los Angeles. Custer was not inside. In the cargo area, investigators found blood and a tool used for digging, Hoglund said.
Hours before Camou’s arrest, he was recorded on video at downtown’s King Eddy Saloon performing an expletive-filled rap about killing and burying a woman, Hoglund confirmed.
On Thursday, authorities released a timeline of Camou’s movements in the hours immediately following the suspected kidnapping, in hope of soliciting tips.
After leaving his home in Monrovia, Camou drove east to Glendora, Hoglund said. He purchased food at a Del Taco on Foothill Boulevard shortly after 8:30 a.m., then bought cigarettes at a Shell gas station on Foothill.
Camou continued east, to Claremont, and was in the area of Base Line Road and Padua Avenue shortly before 9 a.m. His next known location was an AM/PM in the 3800 block of Sierra Avenue near Lytle Creek, according to video footage reviewed by investigators.
Camou left the AM/PM shortly before 9:30 a.m. and headed south on the 15 Freeway, Hoglund said. For the next five hours — until about 2:40 p.m., when Camou visited a Chase Bank ATM in Azusa — his whereabouts are unknown. Authorities and Custer’s family are asking the public to help fill in that gap.
“This is basically a plea to anybody out there, especially on Monday, the 29th of July, that was hiking or fishing or mountain biking, that might have seen anything out of the ordinary,” Custer’s father, Rick Custer, said Thursday. “It might not have seemed that important at that time but it does now.”
Investigators have broadened the scope of the search for Custer to encompass the area from Lytle Creek to Azusa Canyon, including Mt. Baldy, Hoglund said.
“We’ve had search teams out handing out fliers, searching various areas,” he said, “but it is such a broad area that we desperately need the community’s assistance in trying to pinpoint a location of where this Prius may have gone off-road, or anybody that has any information as to where Amanda Custer is at.”
Camou is being held without bail on a warrant related to domestic violence, burglary, battery and assault charges that were filed against him in May. He pleaded not guilty to those charges last month, according to court records.
Sheriff’s investigators are waiting for the outcome of the case to be determined before presenting evidence related to the suspected kidnapping to the district attorney’s office for possible charges, Hoglund said.
Though the domestic violence charges aren’t related to the suspected kidnapping, Custer is the victim in that case as well, he said.
Camou had been ordered by the court to stay away from her and wear an electronic monitoring device.
Investigators said Thursday that he removed the monitoring device at some point following the suspected kidnapping but declined to say where it was found.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the sheriff’s homicide bureau.
“Somebody out there had to have seen something, and now would be a good time to call it in,” Rick Custer said. “We just want to bring Amanda home.”
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