Alleged plot to keep convicted rapist out of prison in Fresno County
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An assistant chief of the California Highway Patrol is now charged with three felony crimes in connection with his son's disappearance in the middle of a rape trial.
Investigators believe Kyle Scarber was entangled in a family plot to help his son avoid a rape conviction and prison sentence. Three months later, charges filed could end Scarber's long career of service, and they include new information about what the family did to contact Spencer Scarber and disguise his identity.
Spencer Scarber's return to Fresno last month in handcuffs brought an end to what prosecutors characterize as a family conspiracy.
Two months earlier, Scarber's father reported him missing from their Squaw Valley home the same morning the 20-year-old was supposed to testify in his rape trial.
Kyle Scarber said he'd last seen his son at about 1:30 a.m. But at 3:24 a.m., a vehicle registered to Kyle and Gail Scarber crossed the border into Mexico. And about an hour later, Gail Scarber and her daughter Crystal Reynoso crossed back into the United States on foot.
"My first thought is how loving parents who believe in their child, what lengths they'd go to (in order) to sort of circumvent the possibility of consequences," said defense attorney Ralph Torres when asked for legal analysis.
Torres says he expects a strong defense from the Scarber family. The charges they face include being accessories to the rape after the fact by helping Spencer escape. A jury found him guilty while he was gone and he now faces a life sentence.
The three family members are also facing a conspiracy charge. In a court document Action News uncovered, prosecutors allege eight acts in the conspiracy.
They say someone ran computer searches for information on Mexico and crossing the border around the time spencer disappeared. They also say Gail Scarber bought prepaid international telephones at a Target store. And they say family members altered a birth certificate and produced a fake Texas driver's license to let spencer use the alias "Brandon Smith."
Torres says the charges could ruin more than just Kyle Scarber's CHP career.
"Their lives are at stake, just like their son's," he said. "I mean, if he's incarcerated, these people here are accused of things that could incarcerate them."
Kyle Scarber, Gail Scarber, and Crystal Reynoso are all due in court Wednesday morning. They're each facing somewhere around four years in jail if they're convicted on all counts.
crimetracker, sex crimes, fresno, fresno county, local, corin hoggard
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