CHP chief's son's disappearance "staged", may have fled country

FRESNO, Calif.

Action News has learned there's evidence Spencer Scarber may have left the country. We first brought you the story of Scarber's disappearance Wednesday. Thursday, his court case went on without him.

Investigators have learned Scarber applied for a passport two months ago, asking for it to be expedited because he was planning a trip out of the country on Nov. 6 -- the same day his trial was set to start. But he didn't disappear until this week, and now there's evidence he may be using that passport.

Blood on the driveway and signs of a struggle near the house where Spencer Scarber lived proved nothing in the eyes of Fresno County sheriff's investigators.

The 20-year-old was scheduled to testify in his own defense against a rape charge. But after hearing the prosecution's entire case, including DNA evidence and his own taped confession, Scarber disappeared, leaving behind items that could indicate he ran into trouble.

Detectives didn't buy it, and neither did ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi.

"To me, the evidence points to him absconding in some way and making it look like a kidnapping, possible murder," said Capozzi.

Scarber was reported missing by his father, Kyle, an assistant chief at the California Highway Patrol. But sheriff's investigators determined the disappearance appeared to be staged. They got information that Spencer's mother left for southern California Tuesday, hours after the prosecution rested its case.

Action News has learned there's evidence her car crossed the border out of the United States on Wednesday, the same day Kyle Scarber reported his son missing.

A judge ruled that Spencer Scarber had made himself voluntarily unavailable, meaning the rape trial could proceed without him. Attorneys gave closing arguments Thursday without mentioning why Scarber was suddenly missing. He faces as long as 112 years to life in prison if jurors find him guilty.

Action News did reach out to Kyle Scarber through e-mail and the CHP office. He hasn't responded and the office tells us the assistant chief is on vacation.

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