Suspect apprehended in death of Amber Nicole Guillory
Port Arthur Police Department Deputy Chief Raymond Clark said a suspect in the December homicide of Amber Nicole Guillory of Vidor is in custody in the Netherlands. Authorities in Nijmegen in the Netherlands arrested 37-year-old David Carl Smith for an immigration violation and are sending him back to the U.S. where he will face charges for Guillory’s murder, Clark said.
“Through the persistence of several different agencies, with state agencies involved,” Clark said, “there has been a suspect that has been detained at this point, and there is an arrest warrant pending…He’s in custody. There’s a warrant…At this point we are just working out the details on how to get him back.”
Guillory was found Dec. 7, 2012 floating face down near North Levee Road in Pleasure Island. The Port Arthur Police Department (PAPD) received a call on the morning of Friday, Dec. 7 regarding a body floating in the water 2-3 feet from the bank. According to Clark, officers arrived at the scene at approximately 11:30 a.m. and found a deceased white female. The Port Arthur Fire Department removed the victim from the water and sent the body to the Jefferson Count Morgue for an autopsy. Police later identified the victim as Amber Nicole Guillory, also known as Amber Nicole Glisson, 26, of Vidor.
Guillory was wearing pajama bottoms and a black and gray hoodie top when she was pulled from the water. Clark said PAPD is investigating the death as a homicide due to the circumstances.
“We have to work it as a homicide,” Clark said in an interview conducted Dec. 10, 2012. “We found a female floating face down and we have to have to take that avenue to get all the details.”
He said at the time it was uncertain exactly how long Guillory was in the water prior to the discovery of her body.
“I would say around 24 hours. The body was in extremely good condition. It probably happened the day before.”
Clark said an autopsy was performed Sat., Dec. 8, 2012. The preliminary autopsy results were inconclusive regarding the cause of death.
“There were no signs of trauma that would have caused her death,” Clark explained in the Dec. 10 interview.
In press conference Wednesday, April 17 at 10 a.m., Clark along with investigators Sgt. Scott Gaspard and Detective Mickey Sterling of PAPD had more details to offer regarding the crime but would not release the cause of death prior to questioning the suspect.
According to Gaspard, “The cause and manner of her death is something only us and him know, or us and the killer know. So, that’s critical to our interview with him when he gets back.”
Clark said his office believes Guillory was killed Dec. 6, 2012 and has evidence her body was actually in the water for less than 24 hours before she was found. He said investigators determined Guillory was killed in a room at the Budget Inn at 2465 North St. in Vidor, and her body was moved from that location after her death. He indicated the investigation determined that Guillory was a prostitute in Orange County, and they believe that is how she knew Smith. Gaspard said Smith previously resided in Port Arthur, Orange, Jasper County, and “all over Southeast Texas.” He revealed that Smith bought a plane ticket Dec. 26, 2012, merely 20 days after the killing occurred. He left for the Netherlands on Jan. 10, apparently fleeing police said.
“He started covering his tracks about four days after the murder,” Gaspard asserted. “That’s when we believe he started planning his escape from the area.”
“We found a YouTube account that he uses. It’s cowboydave1488,” Detective Sterling added.
According to Clark, “During the investigation I was informed that 1488 has a significant meaning. It’s affiliated with a white supremacy group.”
He said there is no specific affiliation with one certain organization but is common among white supremacists in general. He said the “14” stands for the 14 words:
“We must secure the existence of our people and the future for white children.”
The “88” reportedly represents the 8th letter of the alphabet twice over, or HH, for “hile Hitler.”
In addition to the YouTube account that has 54 videos submitted by Smith, he also had page labeled CowboyDave1488 at the top at the web address http://934197022901083586.weebly.com/ and in a message on the site he describes it as his “home page.” In the message, he invites women to contact him for a meeting “to discuss a photo session for a catalog with you as the exclusive model.” He indicated his interests are “all types and sizes and fetish and any genre that you can imagine.”
When asked why Smith chose the Netherlands as his escape point, Clark said, “It appears that he knows somewhere there.” In his YouTube videos, Smith is often in the company of a female he calls “Mayra,” but police have not confirmed with whom he was staying there.
Officers said it is still “up in the air” as to when Smith will return to the state.
“The state department is involved in getting him from there to here,” Sterling said. “It’s basically in their hands.”
“It’s not an extradition per se, in a typical sense, where there’s an extradition hearing because the Netherlands are deporting him,” Gaspard explained. “When they deport him, basically we’ll be on this end to receive him when he gets back, and that’s when we’ll serve the warrant on him.”
“This (investigation) was a lot of hard work,” Clark said. “These two here really worked hard; Sgt. Gaspard and Det. Sterling have really, really worked hard.”
Gaspard said the hard work is worth it, especially when they are able to provide closure for relatives of the deceased victims.
“The family is ecstatic,” Gaspard said of the victim’s relatives. “We have literally been in contact with the mother on a daily basis. She was quite distraught throughout the whole process. There was quite a sigh relief when we contacted her yesterday and told her he was in custody.”
“People persistently called with information,” Clark said. “There has been no shortage of information that came in and we want to thank those people who helped us.”
“We literally interviewed hundreds of people,” Gaspard affirmed. “And those interviews are what led us to where we’re at now.”
In regard to motive, the police said they included what information they have in the probable cause affidavit, but it will not be released until the suspect is served with the warrant.