Robot searches Yakima River, fails to find gun used in Richland slaying

July 6, 2013 

— An underwater robot was unsuccessful Saturday in locating the backpack that a 19-year-old man claims he tossed in the Yakima River near Benton City after fatally shooting a teen on the Fourth of July.

It was the third day of searching for the pack, which reportedly contains the suspects’ shoes and the gun used to kill Josh Snapp.

The 17-year-old victim was shot in the chest and the head about 7 a.m. Thursday in a remote area off of Beardsley Road in Richland.

Suspects Joshua H. Hunt and John C. Young, 18, lured him there to smoke marijuana following an all-night party, then confronted Snapp about a drug debt and opened fire, according to court documents.

Hunt told police that he and Young then drove to Benton City and he threw the backpack containing evidence into the river, documents said. The two Richland men were arrested a short time later.

Richland police Sgt. Kevin Berger said his department has worked with Columbia Basin Dive Rescue and Franklin County’s SARbot, a remote-control operated robot, to search the river starting at the First Street bridge going into Benton City .

The department likely will take a break Sunday, then “go back out Monday with another tactic,” Berger told the Herald.

w Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531;; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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