A 23-year-old man remained behind bars Tuesday on suspicion of murder after authorities say he killed his roommate, loaded the body into his pickup truck and dumped it before police caught up with him more than 200 miles away from his Ventura County home.
Ventura County sheriff’s officials say Cameron Scott Lykins killed his roommate, identified as 22-year-old Houston Auer, early Sunday at their home in the 1100 block of Meyer Road in Meiners Oaks near Ojai. It isn’t clear what specifically preceded the slaying, but sheriff’s officials said it was the result of a “disturbance” at the house.
Hours later — shortly before 10 a.m. — someone called the sheriff’s dispatch center to report that Lykins had admitted to killing Auer and dumping his body. The two men had lived together at the home on Meyer Road for less than six months, Capt. Eric Hatlee said.
Hatlee said when deputies arrived at the home that morning, they discovered a bloody scene but couldn’t find Lykins or Auer. Meiners Oaks is an unincorporated community in Ventura County adjacent to Ojai, a popular tourist destination where violent crime is uncommon.
Authorities began searching for Lykins. At roughly 1 p.m., officers from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol found him in Lone Pine, a town nestled between Sequoia National Park and Death Valley National Park.
Hatlee said Lykins’ white Nissan Frontier pickup contained evidence that he had used the vehicle to transport a body. Authorities have not specified what evidence was found or how they suspect Auer was killed. His body has not been found.
“Though there is sufficient evidence to conclude the victim did not survive the attack, Lykins has not cooperated with us in locating the victim’s body,” Hatlee said.