New unsettling details in Owyhee County murder case

Three people have been charged in connection with man's death.

BOISE - We're learning unsettling new details in the case of a murdered hitchhiker whose body was found in the Owyhee County desert, including alleged talks of committing similar crimes by those accused in the murder.

Montanna Rae Reed, 20, Willie Keith Rabey, 34, and Nicholas Vandenberg, 27, have all been arrested in connection with the murder.

According to court documents obtained by KTVB, Reed, Rabey, and Vandenberg all conspired to kill 18-year-old Hunter Smith.

The victim in this case has not been officially identified because authorities are still waiting for DNA results.

However, Owyhee County Prosecutor Douglas Emery has named Hunter Smith as the presumed victim.

"State police are still looking for the details of the DNA, but the probability, that we've identified the victim correctly, is even more probable now," Emery said.

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Smith was hitchhiking from Junction City, Oregon to Nebraska when he was reported missing by family back in June.

Authorities say the murder actually took place on June 22.

Hunters found the body last month in a remote part of the Owyhee County desert.

Court documents state all three of the defendants met the victim back in June. They then invited him to Vandenberg's house to go shoot guns.

The documents go on to allege the three gathered firearms and ammo from Vandenberg's home and loaded them into a vehicle and agreed Vandenberg would shoot the victim and Rabey and Reed would help cover it up.

The victim was shot at close range in his upper torso and head with a .45 caliber pistol.

MORE: Owyhee County man accused of slaying young hitchhiker

Documents allege the three also planned not to report the murder to anybody and had talked about committing similar crimes in the future.

“There's no confirmation of any solidified intent, just that there was some discussion about like acts,” said Emery.

It also states that Vandenberg removed the victim's clothing to make it harder to identify the victim.

Documents state the clothes were then burned and the victim's body dragged into a ditch to help conceal it.

"Any possible idea on a motive?" KTVB asked.

"There's certainly theories on that and that's one of the issues that's being fully investigated," Emery replied.

Vandenberg is charged with first-degree murder, while Reed and Rabey are each charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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