BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Police said Tuesday that an autopsy had confirmed a body found near Shepherd was that of an Illinois man kidnapped from a Billings hotel room, as court documents indicated the victim was killed following a robbery.
The cause of death for 29-year-old Dejuan Laster of Rockford, Ill. was not released following Tuesday’s autopsy, but police said earlier he appeared to have been shot.
Two men were being held in the case.
Laster was last seen Thursday when a woman reported that two men claiming to be FBI agents had kidnapped him from their hotel room.
The woman was identified as Laster’s girlfriend in an affidavit of probable cause filed by Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito.
According to the affidavit, Laster had left the couple’s room at the Extended Stay Hotel on Thursday after a call from the front desk reporting that someone had been tampering with some cars parked outside.
While he was gone, two men entered the room, tied the woman’s hands behind her back and began questioning her. She later heard Laster screaming for help, the affidavit said, before she and Laster were taken away in separate vehicles.
Laster’s girlfriend told investigators she eventually was released and later received a telephone call from one of the alleged kidnappers regarding Laster’s Chevrolet Camaro.
Police used a cellphone number she provided to track down James Adam Walker, who was arrested Saturday and faces charges of aggravated kidnapping and robbery. Detectives confirmed much of what the woman said by reviewing hotel surveillance footage, the affidavit said.
The affidavit alleged that Walker confessed to participating in a robbery and kidnapping at the hotel and said he and an associate had planned to steal money from Laster.
Billings Police have not said whether the suspects had any prior relationship with the victim.
Walker was being held without bond at the Yellowstone County jail in Billings.
A second suspect, Simon Jacobson, was arrested Monday on a probation violation in Colorado, where he remains pending extradition.
Twito said additional charges would be forthcoming against Jacobson.
Walker has prior convictions for criminal endangerment and theft, according to the Montana Department of Corrections.
Jacobson was on probation at the time of his arrest after being convicted in 2004 and 2005 on burglary and theft charges. In 2006, he was sentenced by a federal judge to more than three years in prison for unlawful transport of firearms.
- By Matthew Brown, AP Writer
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