FRESNO, Calif. --Spencer Scarber's story has been revealed. The convicted rapist who escaped to Mexico in the middle of trial told a story matching what his father said, but investigators say there are too many holes to believe it.
"What he was saying didn't match up with where the crutches were and he really didn't know exactly where they were or where they were found," said now-retired CHP internal affairs investigator Chris Sahagun during a preliminary hearing Thursday.
Scarber's father Kyle was an assistant CHP chief. But he and two other family members-- Gail Scarber and Crystal Reynoso -- are accused of helping Spencer Scarber disappear. "Got anything to say?" an Action News reporter asked Spencer Scarber as he was escorted into the Fresno County Sheriff's Office when he returned to Fresno from Acapulco in February 2013.
"Not much," Scarber replied.
Spencer Scarber may have had not much to say to us when he came back to Fresno, but he said plenty to CHP internal affairs investigators four days later. The timeframe he gave paralleled the one his dad gave sheriff's investigators the day he disappeared in December 2012 -- the same day he was supposed to testify in the rape trial against him. "He said that at about 3-3:30 in the morning of the 12th, he crawled out his window, went down, staged a crime scene and left the area and fled to Mexico," said Sahagun.
The investigator says Spencer wanted it to look like a kidnapping and he wanted to pin it on a guy his family claimed beat him into a false confession. But the investigator says spencer's description of the staged scene didn't add up. He didn't seem to know where he'd put his crutches and didn't think he had a flashlight, for example.
After setting up the fake crime scene, Spencer said he hitchhiked to Bakersfield and then to the Mexican border. Border patrol records show his family's Toyota Avalon crossed into Mexico right about the time Spencer says he left Squaw Valley. They also show his mother and sister walked back into the U.S. a little while later. Spencer said he wasn't with them, but when the Avalon turned up in Mexico, an investigator found documents connected to the identity he was using as well as some of his personal property. "Aside from clothing and other items, item 22 is crutches," said Randy Garcia of the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
The Avalon was never reported stolen and Spencer is not the only family member accused of lying to cover a trail of crimes. Investigators say another sister's alibi for Crystal Reynoso fell apart when they looked at phone records. "She insisted that she and Crystal were in the same vehicle," Sahagun said. "I then told her the cell phone locations at those calls showed her and Crystal in different locations at the same time."
The judge could decide Friday whether there's enough evidence for the Scarbers to stand trial.