Days after what authorities described as an unusually brutal murder, investigators have identified a woman allegedly killed by a man she spent time with at a Rainbow Family of Living Light gathering last week, according to Kentucky authorities.
Amber Robinson, 18, of Florida, was identified through dental records as the victim in last week’s murder on Thursday afternoon, according to the Elizabethtown Police Department.
Joseph Bryan Capstraw, 20, was arrested on July 7, and was charged with Robinson’s murder. Capstraw allegedly told authorities he met Robinson where the counter-culture group had assembled in the Bull Mountain area of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest just outside of Dahlonega.
According to Elizabethtown Police Officer John Thomas, they learned a possible name for the victim earlier this week but were not able to confirm it until today.
“The big problem for us at this point is she was so physically damaged from the homicide that we could not make a positive identification based on photographs,” Thomas previously said. “In my 10 years in law enforcement, this is the most brutal homicide that I have ever seen.”
In addition to blunt force trauma, Thomas said there is evidence that Robinson was strangled. But so far, the exact cause of death has not been announced.
“This was a very personal attack. I mean, he used his hands as weapons,” he said. “It is very unusual to see an attack with this level of brutality; there’s just no other way of putting it.”
Thomas said that they believe Robinson and Capstraw were picked up off the side of a highway between Louisville and Elizabethtown by the owner of the home where Robinson was found.
“He offered them a ride and they told him they didn’t have anywhere to stay the night, and just out of the kindness of his heart he offered to let them stay in his house,” Thomas said. “So this was somebody trying to do an act of kindness and then something horrific happening in his house.”
After the murder, authorities say police officers found Capstraw in the front yard of the home. Thomas said first responders to the scene stated Capstraw allegedly admitted to killing Robinson, saying he blacked out during an argument and found her dead when he came to.
“And later on in interviews with detectives, he repeated that he had beaten her to death,” Thomas said. “So he was aware of it, he just claims that he has no memory of the actual attack.”
Previously, Capstraw was arrested in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., on May 6, 2017, and charged with attempted murder, after a disagreement led to a man being stabbed in the neck, according to Florida court records.
Records show that all charges against Capstraw from the May 6 incident were later dropped for unstated reasons.
Capstraw is being held in Hardin County Detention Center under a bond of $500,000, according to jail records.