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Police identify woman killed after attending Rainbow gathering
Man charged July 7 with murder
Joseph Bryan Capstraw
Joseph Bryan Capstraw

A woman killed after attending the Rainbow Family of Living Light gathering in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest was identified Thursday, July 12, through her dental records.

Elizabethtown Police in Kentucky said Amber Robinson, 18, is originally from Florida, but they do not know where she most recently lived.

On July 7, the Elizabethtown Police Department in Kentucky arrested and charged Joseph Bryan Capstraw, 20, with the woman's murder. Capstraw told authorities he met the woman where the off-the-grid, counter-culture group had assembled in the Bull Mountain area of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest just outside of Dahlonega.

“At this point, it is believed that Robinson and Capstraw met at the 2018 ‘Rainbow Family of Living Light’ gathering in Georgia, before eventually making their way to Kentucky,” wrote Elizabethtown Police spokesman John Thomas in an email.

Police are still investigating the circumstances leading to Robinson’s death. It took five days to identify her and notify her next of kin.

"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 told the Forsyth County News. "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 the victim 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 both Capstraw and his victim were picked up off the side of a highway between Louisville and Elizabethtown by the owner of the home where the victim 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 slaying, authorities said police officers found Capstraw in the front yard of the home. Thomas said first responders to the scene stated Capstraw admitted killing the woman, 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.”

Records from the Hardin County Detention Center show that Capstraw is being held under a bond of $500,000.

In May 2017, Capstraw was charged with attempted murder in the second degree by Jacksonville Beach Police. The charge was dropped later that month.

Times reporter Nick Watson and Forsyth County News reporter Alex Popp contributed to this report.

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