Junction City teen found murdered in Idaho; 3 arrested

Police said hunters found Hunter Smith-Tash's remains in the Owyhee desert in Idaho on October 21. His mom, Heather Smith, just got the news her 18-year-old son was found dead on Thursday.

Posted: Nov 10, 2017 7:40 PM
Updated: Nov 13, 2017 11:30 AM

JUNCTION CITY, Ore. – Police have arrested three people in Idaho in connection to the death of a Junction City teen.

Police said hunters found Hunter Smith-Tash's remains in the Owyhee desert in Idaho on October 21.

His mom, Heather Smith, just got the news her 18-year-old son was found dead on Thursday. She said her parents stopped by and broke the news.

She told KEZI she took a DNA test two weeks ago after the remains were found to confirm if they belonged to her son. She has feared the worse since then.

"I was just kind of hoping he had done the lost boy thing, just went underground," Smith said. She said her son was hitchhiking to Nebraska for a job.

Smith-Tash was reported missing over the summer and the family has spent months searching for him. He has as a young daughter who is two years old. His mom describes him as a fun, loving teen, who would do anything for his little girl.

"I'm numb," Smith said. "I'm lost. I'm mad."

Nicholas Vandenberg, Montanna Reed, and William Rabey have been arrested and are facing charges in his death. They are all from Idaho.

According to the ABC station KIVI in Boise, investigators believe Smith-Tash died from one gunshot in June.

His mom, who is now left with unanswered questions, has a message for whoever's responsible for her son's death.

"I would show them a picture of his daughter and say look into those eyes and tell those eyes why you did it," Smith said. "Don't give an answer right now just think about it for a minute and then tell that child why you did it. Was it worth it?

Smith-Tash's would have turned 19 in October. His mom said she is now just focusing on bringing her son home.

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