VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The man who confessed to killing Bellamy Gamboa used his cellphone and computer to search information about “trash dumpsters and where they go,” according to a detective with the Virginia Beach Police Department.
Lamont Johnson, 41, is facing a charge of second-degree murder after he confessed to pushing Gamboa down a flight of stairs and choking her to death. The confession came on July 29, almost one month after the mother of four disappeared from the home they shared with their twin babies at the Diamond Springs Apartments.
Police first responded to the apartment on Carrene Drive the afternoon of July 2. Gamboa’s manager said the mother hadn’t shown up to work at Livingston International. A few hours later, a family member officially reported Gamboa missing after her teenage son said he hadn’t heard from his mom in nearly 24 hours.
Police say they spoke with Johnson that day. Johnson said he and Gamboa had a verbal argument the night before. Johnson said he received a text message from Gamboa around 8:30 p.m., but that she stopped responding to his texts and phone calls after that, court documents state.
Johnson told police that he left the children behind in the home around 1:10 a.m. on July 2 to buy cigarettes and get gas.
When police watched surveillance footage of Johnson at a nearby 7-Eleven, the grey t-shirt he was wearing looked “almost completely wet,” although it wasn’t raining and he only drove a quarter-mile to the store, court documents show.
“It is believed … that Lamont Johnson’s shirt, when seen in the 7-11 video, is soaked with sweat,” a detective wrote.
Johnson told detectives he got back to the apartment around 1:40 a.m. and went to sleep. One of the kids woke him up around 6:30 a.m. He said he didn’t see Gamboa, and although he thought it was unusual, he assumed she was asleep and didn’t go upstairs to check on her, according to court documents.
During their investigation, police also said Johnson showed them screenshots taken by the father of Gamboa’s teenage children. In those screenshots, police say Gamboa was talking negatively about Johnson.
Two days after Gamboa’s disappearance, her 2015 Ford Focus was found three miles from their home on Pickering Street in Lake Edward. The car was blocking a dumpster, according to court documents, and was towed away by a local company who said there was what appeared to be “blood and vomit” on the driver’s side door.
Police say Gamboa’s purse, wallet, cash and identification were also found in the car. Her keys were missing.
“The driver’s seat had been pushed all the way back. Bellamy Gamboa is only 5’1″ tall,” a detective wrote.
He added, “The driver seat location of Bellamy’s vehicle indicates someone taller than Bellamy was driving … prior to abandoning it on Pickering Street.”
In Johnson’s confession to the murder, he said that he pushed Gamboa down the stairs and fell on top of her before choking her to death. He said he put her body in a bag and took her to Chesapeake.
Police have spent the past six days searching for Gamboa’s body, but they remain tight-lipped about where they are focusing their search efforts.
On Friday, police confirmed the search to find the 40-year-old’s body was called off “after countless hours, and exhausting all resources.”
“Try to understand that her body will never be recovered,” said Charisse Gamboa, her sister. “We must all find the strength to move on and accept that we will never be able to see her beautiful face again.”