Two more arrested in connection with hitchhiker's slaying

OWYHEE COUNTY - Two more people have been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a male whose body was found by hunters in the Owyhee County desert on October 21.

Montanna Rae Reed, 20, of Twin Falls and Willie Keith Rabey, 34, of Mountain Home were arrested Tuesday, Idaho State Police said. They have each been charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

ISP said Reed and Rabey are known associates of 27-year-old Nicholas B. Vandenberg of Melba. He was already facing charges of first-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and destruction of evidence in connection to the death.

Vandenberg is accused of stripping the victim - who Owyhee County Prosecutor Douglas Emery said is believed to be 18-year-old Hunter Smith of Junction City, Ore. - of his clothes to make him harder to identify, and leaving the body in the desert off Hot Springs Road, about 15 miles north of the Nevada border. Results from the DNA tests are still pending. Emery said investigators think Smith was killed in that area, which is not far from Vandenberg's home.

According to a missing persons flyer that circulated after Smith's disappearance in June, the teen was trying to hitchhike from Junction City, Oregon to Nebraska when he went missing. Emery said it's not clear whether Vandenberg offered the victim a ride before the slaying, but added that police are following up on leads related to Smith's hitchhiking.

MORE: Owyhee County man accused of slaying young hitchhiker

Smith died from at least one gunshot wound to his upper torso, Emery said.

ISP said Wednesday afternoon that Reed and Rabey were being arraigned in Twin Falls and Mountain Home, and that they will be extradited to Owyhee County and booked into the Owyhee County Jail.

The killing remains under investigation by Idaho State Police.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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