Posted: Jan 21, 2013 3:41 PM by MTN News
BILLINGS - The Billings Police Department is confident they have discovered the body of 29-year-old Dejuan Laster, who was kidnapped from a Billings hotel early Thursday.
Police Chief Rich St. John said it appears Laster was killed by gunshot wounds.
"The kidnapping/missing person has now turned into a homicide investigation," he said.
Laster's body was found on Sunday around 12 p.m. in a culvert area near the intersection of Clint Road and Stirrup in Yellowstone County.
"Detectives did go out there and they did find a deceased male, we are confident, however it has not been confirmed 100 percent that it is Mr. Laster," he said.
An autopsy has been scheduled for Tuesday. The chief said it was a series of interviews and investigation work that lead them to Laster's body.
One person has been taken into custody in connection with Laster's disappearance. James Walker, 33, of Billings was arrested on charges of aggravated kidnapping and robbery. Walker was arrested early Saturday morning. Chief St. John said it was too early in the investigation to tell if Walker would be charged with homicide.
The department continues to search for a second person of interest.
A BOLO alert has been issued for 28-year-old Simon E. Jacobson. According to the alert, Jacobson stands 6'0 feet tall, weighs 215 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes. Jacobson also has an outstanding warrant on probation violation.
"We're not just focusing on the local area, we've expanded our search to other parts of the country," said Chief St. John.
A motive behind the kidnapping and robbery remains unknown. "We're working through theories and motives. We don't have anything pinned down," the chief said.
Anyone with information on Jacobson's whereabouts can call Crimestoppers at 245-6660. The Billings PD is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Marshals Violent Offender Task Force.
Laster was last seen in his hotel room at the Extended Stay America on the 4900 block of Southgate on Thursday Jan. 17. Two men posing as FBI agents allegedly zip tied a woman who was also staying in the hotel room and questioned her about Laster. They eventually released her and that was the last time Laster was seen.