ISP arrests two more in connection with Owyhee murder case

Montanna Reed
Montanna Reed

Idaho State Police investigators believe that more than one person was involved in the killing of a man whose body was found in the desert of eastern Owyhee County by hunters on Oct. 21.

On Wednesday afternoon, ISP announced that two more people had been arrested in connection with the case. The identity of the victim has not been confirmed by authorities.

Police arrested Nicholas B. Vandenberg, a 27-year-old Melba man, on a charge of first-degree murder last week. He is also facing charges of use of a firearm while committing a felony and destruction or concealment of evidence.

The two people arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiracy to commit murder are:

▪  Montanna Rae Reed, a 20-year-old Twin Falls woman.

▪  Willie Keith Rabey, a 34-year-old Mountain Home man.

Both are associates of Vandenberg, ISP said. ISP detectives arrested Reed in Twin Falls and Rabey in Mountain Home. They are currently being arraigned in the cities where they were arrested, and they will be extradited to Owyhee County.

Though the victim’s identity has not been confirmed through forensic testing, Owyhee County Prosecutor Douglas Emery told the Statesman that investigators suspect it could be a missing Oregon man, 18-year-old Hunter Smith.

Emery said investigators were looking into a social media post on what appears to be Vandenberg’s Facebook page about the discovery of the body and comments on that post.

Vandenberg was arrested in Elmore County and was initially held in the jail there. He was arraigned in Owyhee County on Monday, according to online court records.

He was appointed a public defender. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 18.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller