A man has been charged with first-degree murder in southern Iowa in the death of a deer hunter from Cedar Falls late last month.

The arrest of Ethan Davis, 27, of Promise City, was announced by officials with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and Appanoose County sheriff's office during a news conference in Centerville on Wednesday (Dec. 6, 2017).

Davis is suspected of killing Curtis Ross, 31, of Cedar Falls, whose body was found in a remote area of Appanoose County on Nov. 25. Autopsy results showed Ross died of multiple stab and gunshot wounds. The state medical examiner ruled Ross' death a homicide.

Authorites said Davis was arrested on the first-degree murder charge at the Wayne County jail in Corydon, where he was being held on other charges unrelated to Ross' death. The Daily Iowegian reported Wednesday that Davis had made his initial appearance in Appanoose County District Court, and that a judge had set his bail at $1 million.

At the news conference, investigators said Ross arrived in Appanoose County on Thanksgiving Day to hunt and retrieve equipment he had previously set out. He was reported missing in the early morning hours of Nov. 25, after he failed to return to the residence where he was staying. Ross' pickup was later found in a remote part of a public hunting area in Appanoose County, near Lake Rathbun.

Authorities said evidence obtained at the scene and through search warrants links Davis to the murder. The evidence includes bullet casings found next to Ross' body and a rifle that was hidden under farm equipment at Davis' property northeast of Promise City. According to investigators, forensic tests determined that both items had Davis' fingerprints on them.

Authorities said a DCI firearms expert matched the casings fired from the rifle to the casings that were found near Ross' body. Other evidence is still being processed at the DCI crime lab.

Officials added that Davis attempted to hide a vehicle on his property that contained evidence related to the case. Several areas inside the vehicle tested positive for blood, they said.

Investigators did not elaborate on the condition of Ross' body at the time it was found or release a possible motive for the murder.

Source: Daily Iowegian