Sheriff’s detectives looking for Samuel Camargo-Reyes
A no-bail arrest warrant has been issued for a missing 80-year-old Goleta man charged with molesting a young girl for four years.
The warrant was issued because the man stopped meeting with his probation officer and skipped a scheduled court appearance earlier this month, prosecutors said.
Sheriff’s detectives are hunting for the defendant, Samuel Camargo-Reyes, in coordination with the District Attorney’s Office, following his disappearance, said a spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office,
“Mr. Reyes lost contact with probation and failed to appear in court last week (12/12),” Deputy District Attorney Sarah Barkley told the News-Press. “A no-bail bench warrant was issued, and all future court dates have been vacated.
“Mr. Reyes has been charged with a single count of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child (a felony) … which carries a maximum sentence of 16 years in state prison.”
She declined to say whether the D.A.’s office believes Mr. Camargo-Reyes remains in Goleta or Santa Barbara County, or whether prosecutors think he has fled the state.
“I cannot comment on an ongoing criminal investigation,” Deputy District Attorney Barkley said.
The Sheriff’s Office also declined to comment on where detectives believe Mr. Carmago-Reyes might be.
“The Sheriff’s Office is aware Reyes has failed to appear at his last court hearing,” Lt. Jarrett A. Morris told the News-Press. “The Sheriff’s Office is working with the District Attorney’s Office to locate Reyes. This is an active investigation, so at this time we will not be sharing any additional information.”
Mr. Reyes’ attorney, Deputy Public Defender Jess McHarrie, declined comment for this story.
On May 3, detectives began investigating a report of lewd acts with a child that allegedly occurred prior to 2019 in Mr. Carmago-Reyes’ business in an unmarked office in the 200 block of Pine Avenue in Goleta.
As a result of their investigation into this report, detectives arrested Mr. Carmago-Reyes — also known as Samuel Reyes-Camargo — on a warrant for lewd acts with a child under the age of 14, a felony. The Sheriff’s Office announced Mr. Carmago-Reyes’ arrest on Aug. 1.
The felony complaint filed against Mr. Carmago-Reyes lists the minor’s date of birth as Jan. 22, 2010, making her 12 now, and her being between 5 and 9 at the time of the alleged offenses, which prosecutors say occurred between Jan. 22, 2015 and Jan. 22, 2019.
Mr. Carmago-Reyes was charged with the crime of continuous sexual abuse, a felony, for allegedly engaging in three or more acts of “substantial sexual conduct” or three or more acts of lewd or lascivious conducted with a child 14 or younger, “while the defendant resided with, or had recurring access to, the child.”
Prosecutors included a special allegation that the charge was a serious or violent registerable sex offense felony.
The complaint said prosecutors will ask a jury to find aggravating factors in the case, in that Mr. Carmago-Reyes allegedly was armed with or used a weapon at the time of the commission of the alleged crime, and that he allegedly engaged in violent conduct “that indicates a serious danger to society.”
Mr. Carmago-Reyes pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Aug. 2, the day after his arrest.
On Aug. 3, the day after his arraignment, his original bail set at $500,000 was reduced to $40,000, a bond was posted in that amount and he was released from custody.
Since then Mr. Carmago-Reyes has appeared in court repeatedly to set a date for his preliminary hearing, and each time his case was continued.
His last scheduled court date was Dec. 12, and that’s the one where he failed to show up.
“Mr. Reyes was being supervised by pretrial services (a unit within probation),” Deputy District Attorney Barkley said. “Pretrial services filed a notice of violation on 11/27/22 when they lost contact with him.”
She declined to say what charge(s) he might face for apparently fleeing to avoid further prosecution in the event he is caught and rearrested.
“Again, if we receive information that indicates a crime was committed, beyond a reasonable doubt, we will file the appropriate charges,” she said.
At the time he was arrested, detectives said they “strongly believe” there are additional survivors of sexual assault who have not yet been identified.
They said they believe he had access to other children at his business, located at the corner of Pine Avenue and Gaviota Street in an unmarked office space where he sold nutritional supplements since approximately 2011.
Detectives encouraged anyone with knowledge of additional crimes allegedly associated with Mr. Carmago-Reyes or his business in Goleta to contact the sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division.
Lt. Morris would not say whether any other alleged victims have come forward since then. “At this time we are coordinating with the District Attorney’s Office” regarding other alleged victims, he said.
Deputy District Attorney Barkley also declined comment on the possibility of other victims coming forward.
“I cannot comment on an ongoing investigation,” she said. “As with all cases, we will file additional charges if we have evidence that a crime was committed. Our filing standard is the same as our burden of proof at trial, beyond a reasonable doubt.”