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Second person tied to missing Idaho man faces federal charge

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LUCIN, Utah (KSL.com) — A second person who is believed to have had contact with Dylan Rounds shortly before he disappeared now faces federal weapons charges.

Chase Montgomery Venstra, 41, was charged in federal court on July 1 with being a restricted person in possession of a firearm. That complaint was unsealed on Tuesday when Venstra made his initial appearance in federal court. A judge ordered him to remain in custody pending his next hearing on July 19.

The action comes on the heels of a complaint being filed against James Brenner, 58, in the U.S. District Court of Utah for being a felon in possession of a firearm. On Wednesday, an indictment was filed against Brenner on the same charge. An indictment is obtained after a case is reviewed by a grand jury.

A judge on Wednesday ordered Brenner to remain in custody pending his arraignment on Friday. According to a petition filed by prosecutors requesting that Brenner remain in custody, he is considered a “suspect” in Rounds’ disappearance.

RELATED | Arrest warrant issued for Dylan Rounds’ neighbor on firearms charge

Dylan Rounds, originally from Rigby, Idaho, was last heard from on May 28 while in the remote community of Lucin in northwest Utah near the Nevada border. According to family members, Rounds lived by himself in a camp trailer where he began farming grain a few years ago.

Family members say he called several relatives on May 25 after having a “weird run-in” with a man on a gravel road. That man — believed to be Venstra — was spotted several day later in Montello, Nevada, according to the family. Rounds was allegedly seen in Montello on May 26.

RELATED | Family, law enforcement ask public to avoid searching for Dylan Rounds near his farm

On May 30, Rounds’ family asked the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a welfare check on him. Deputies found several suspicious circumstances, including a pair of Rounds’ boots that appeared to have blood on them, according to family members, no tire tracks in the dirt leading to where his pickup was found or mud on the tires, and his phone and wallet were missing.

Federal court documents filed against Venstra state that the Davis County Sheriff’s Office and Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant on Venstra’s West Point residence on May 12 “in conjunction with a homicide investigation.” The complaint does not say which homicide was being investigated, but says two firearms were found inside his motorhome.

Then on June 12, a search warrant was served on the residence of a person who investigators say was asked by Venstra to hold firearms for him. Three firearms were found in a water heater closet in a garage, according to the complaint. A bulletproof vest and ammunition was also recovered and another firearm was found in a crawlspace in a child’s bedroom.

Venstra’s criminal history includes an arrest in 2016 in Clinton following a 10-hour standoff with police.

RELATED | FBI now involved in Dylan Rounds case as his parents plead for help in first joint interview

On Wednesday, the Rounds family, in conjunction with the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office, released a statement asking the public to stop searching for Rounds.

“The law enforcement investigation into the disappearance of Dylan Rounds is ongoing. Law enforcement continues to be in the Lucin area. At this time there are no organized searches planned for members of the public to participate in that are supported or authorized by law enforcement. We are asking the public to not search the area, as it has the potential to compromise the investigation.

“As a family, we are not asking for or requesting any additional public searches for Dylan Rounds at this time. We request that everyone allow law enforcement to continue their organized investigation without any hindrance or interference, in order to avoid jeopardizing the investigation. We thank everyone for their continued support in finding Dylan Rounds.”

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