CHP Chief, with fugitive son, permitted trip to Mexico

December 31, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
New developments Monday in the search for a convicted rapist and son of a high-ranking CHP official who disappeared during his trial.

Action News first reported the disappearance of Spencer Scarber during his rape trial three weeks ago. The 20-year old was reported missing by his father, but sheriff's investigators determined it was a bogus report. They also uncovered evidence that Spencer had probably fled to Mexico with help from his family.

The CHP placed Kyle Scarber on paid leave two days after sheriff's investigators served a search warrant at his house, and one day after the CHP commissioner met with Sheriff Margaret Mims. Neither the sheriff's office nor the CHP will talk about what's going on, but Scarber is clearly a man in the middle of an investigation.

And now, Action News has learned Kyle Scarber got clearance to make a trip to Mexico -- the presumed location of his fugitive son.

All is quiet at the home where Spencer Scarber lived with his parents until Dec. 12, the day he was scheduled to testify in his own rape trial. Neighbors say the family hasn't been around for a few days now and only two cars sit in the driveway where there were as many as five two weeks ago, when sheriffs served a search warrant at the house.

Detectives were looking for information leading them to Spencer or showing he had help from his parents in leaving the country. A camera at the border showed his mother's car leaving the country the same morning he disappeared. 80 minutes later, Spencer's mother and sister walked back into the United States.

Attorneys who study extradition law said Americans can sometimes hide very well in Mexico.

"There are certain areas of Mexico now that are subject to very little law enforcement jurisdiction," said attorney Charles Magill. "If he's in an area that's been compromised, it could be difficult to get him back in the United States."

There are also some countries that have no extradition treaties with the U.S., making it even more difficult to round up even a convicted felon, like Scarber.

A jury found him guilty of rape and other charges a few days after he disappeared. But new developments show investigators need not look further than Mexico. The quietude surrounding the Scarber house coincides with a request he made to leave the country for Mexico, according to multiple anonymous sources.

The CHP won't confirm the travel request, but they gave us this statement: "What an employee chooses to do while using their leave credits is up to the employee and does not require permission from the department," wrote Lt. Craig Kunzler in an email. "Furthermore, the department has no authority to restrict the movement of any employee who is off duty using their own leave credits."

Our follow-up email questions went unanswered and phone calls were never returned. Those questions included whether Kyle Scarber is under an internal affairs investigation. He has, however, asked the sheriff's office to conduct internal affairs investigations on at least six deputies who looked into his son's crime.