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New details emerge in death of man tied to tree for 20 hours

Published On: May 29 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: May 31 2012 12:56:15 PM CDT

A bizarre homicide has shocked people around the region.

SOUTH MANHEIM TWP., Pa. -

Shock and sadness continue to spread around the region as more details emerge about a bizarre homicide involving a man tied to a tree and left to die.

Bryan Smith, of Orwigsburg, Schuylkill Co., was found dead Tuesday, tied to a tree in the middle of the woods, said investigators.

State police have still not released a motive behind the homicide. Rumors circled around South Manheim Township after Smith, 26, was found bound around a tree. He was left there for about 20 hours in the high heat and humidity, investigators said.

"How could somebody do that. I mean, it was too hot," said Carl Eidem, who lives down the street from the crime scene.

According to court documents, Keith Reber, 48, and Daniel Dull, 25, led Smith into the woods. Smith's ankles were bound together and a gag was tied around his mouth, officials said.

"Reber went up to give him water, and when he went up there, he found he was deceased," said Tpr. David Beohm, Pa. State Police.

Smith's body was found on Manheim Road, on Reber's property, police said.

Neighbors in the area said they couldn't believe it.

"Monday morning I came out for the paper, I heard people talking up there, so it just made me think were they talking to him," said Sue Eidem, who also lives down the street.

"I think it was an unfortunate accident, something that went wrong," said Tim Osatchuck, who has known Reber his entire life.

Osatchuck said he believes Reber did not want to kill Smith, but rather just try to scare him.

"He's that kind of guy that if somebody does him wrong, he's going to do something about it. He's not gonna let it pass by without doing something," said Osatchuck.

Both Reber and Dull turned themselves in Monday night to the Schuylkill Haven borough police and confessed to what happened. They were arraigned by Magisterial District Judge James Ferrier on Tuesday on criminal homicide, conspiracy, kidnapping and other charges. They have been committed to Schuylkill County Prison without bail.

An autopsy was performed Wednesday morning on Smith. The results are pending.