By Fabiola Diaz
Robert Anthony Camou, a 28-year-old from Monrovia, pleaded not guilty on Oct. 10 to a capital murder charge that alleges he killed his girlfriend, Amanda Kathleen Custer, who disappeared in late July. Prosecutors have not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty in the case.
Investigators believe Custer was taken by Camou against her will on the morning of July 29 from a Monrovia residence.
The murder charge against Camou includes the special-circumstance allegation of killing a witness, along with an allegation that he was out on bail when he committed the crime.
Camou was initially charged on May 29 with one felony count each of first-degree burglary, person present; injuring a girlfriend; and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. The charges also include one misdemeanor count of battery. According Deputy District Attorney Melanie Drew, Camou was initially charged after he allegedly tried to strangle Custer and threatened her with a Taser on April 22.
Custer sought refuge in a nearby residence and Camou allegedly battered the elderly man inside the residence who tried to intervene, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Camou was out on bail in connection with these charges at the time of Custer’s disappearance, according to the DA’s Office.
In August, the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department and Amanda’s father, Rick Custer, held a joint press conference asking for the public’s help in locating Amanda.
During that press conference, Lt. Scott Hoglund said witnesses saw Camou place Amanda’s lifeless body into the trunk of a Toyota Prius. Blood and a digging tool were later found inside the trunk by detectives.
Custer, a single mother of an 8-year-old, had filed court papers in February seeking a restraining order against Camou, which she obtained on April 22.