An Idaho man accused of killing his pregnant wife and kidnapping their 10-month-old son, later found dead, was charged with murder Monday.
Jeremy Albert Best, 48, is accused of fatally shooting 38-year-old Kali Jean Randall at their home in Victor on the night of Nov. 30 and then fleeing with their baby boy, Zeke. An Amber Alert was issued, and on Saturday morning authorities arrested Best 50 miles away.
In a news release, the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office said that hunters had notified police about a naked man in a sleeping bag making “odd statements” on the side of the road. Sheriff’s deputies identified the man as Best and said they located his black Chevy SUV down an embankment off the roadway. They found Zeke’s body nearby, authorities said.
Best is charged with two counts of murder in the death of his wife, who was 28 weeks pregnant, according to a criminal complaint obtained by HuffPost. Authorities did not say how or exactly where Zeke died, but “it is currently being investigated as an intentional homicide,” Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney Randy Neal said in a statement shared with HuffPost.
“Since any immediate threat to the public has been addressed, the prosecuting attorneys have time to carefully determine the next steps in the legal process,” Neal said. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
Sheriff’s deputies had responded to another incident regarding Best earlier Thursday, less than 12 hours before his wife was shot at their home near the Wyoming border. In a previous news release, the sheriff’s office said Best had been walking around nude in a general store about 25 miles from their home. He was examined by EMTs and taken by ambulance to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for a “medical and mental health” evaluation, the news release stated. A spokeswoman for the medical center, Coleen Niemann, confirmed to East Idaho News that he had been discharged that afternoon.
In response to a request for clarification from HuffPost, Niemann said privacy laws prevented her from answering specific questions about Best’s care, but noted that state law “limits law enforcement, hospitals, and healthcare providers from placing individuals on a protective custody hold unless specific clinical criteria is met. When these factors are not present or apparent at the time of the care process, hospitals cannot legally hold a patient against their or their family’s wishes.”
A 911 call was placed from Best and Randall’s home at 11:39 p.m. Thursday, according to a news release from the Teton County Sheriff’s Office, who responded to the call and found Randall’s body. The dispatcher reported hearing arguing before the call ended, authorities said.
According to court documents reviewed by the East Idaho News, a woman in the 911 call can be heard repeating “Jeremy” and “Jeremy, no.” In the call, recorded before the dispatcher answered, a male voice then responds, “Get the fuck back, you’re gonna get shot,” followed by “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
Randall, a gifted photographer, documented her travels, her pet dogs, wildlife and striking natural landscapes on her blog, website and social media accounts. The Wisconsin native wrote that she was drawn to the mountains and was “deeply inspired by the land.” She was an avid snowboarder, wellness coach and silversmith, and she sold jewelry on her website, Kalico Forest.
Randall wrote in a March 2021 Instagram post that she and her “dude” (Best appeared in photos she posted at this time) shared a “cozy home” with three dogs, two cats and 17 chickens.
Best appeared in court Monday via Zoom and sobbed as the charges, which included a third count of using a firearm during the commission of a crime, were read against him. He repeatedly rubbed his hands through his hair and appeared to be shirtless.
At his public defender’s request, the judge ordered that Best undergo a competency evaluation.
Best is being held without bond and faces up to 10 years to life imprisonment or death if convicted on the murder charges. The prosecution has 60 days after Best enters a plea to state whether it plans to pursue the death penalty.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Dec. 18.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.