DNA identifies human remains found in Idaho desert as missing Junction City man; 3 charged

Montanna Reed and Willie Rabey. Photos courtesy the Elmore and Twin Falls County Sheriff's Offices.

JUNCTION CITY, Ore. - Human remains found last month in Owyhee desert of Idaho are those of a Junction City man report missing in August, the Junction City Police Department says.

Hunter Smith-Tash was reported missing August 4, 2017, police said. He was last heard from in July as he rode a Greyhound bus near Ontario, Oregon, en route to Nebraska, police said.

Hunters found human remains in the Idaho desert on October 21.

During their investigation, Idaho State Police learned the body might be that of Smith-Tash. A DNA sample from Smith-Tash's mother, compared against the human remains, determined a 99.995 percent probability that the deceased person was Smith-Tash.

Idaho police have arrested Nicholas Vandenberg on a charge of first degree murder for the death of Smith-Tash.

Two other people - Willie Rabey and Montanna Reed - face charges of conspiracy to commit the crime of murder in the first degree and destruction or concealment of evidence in connection with Smith-Tash's death.

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