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Rachel's Friends


Mend a quarrel
Seek out a forgotten
Share some treasure
Give a soft answer
Encourage youth
Keep a promise
Find the time
Apologize if you
were wrong
Be gentle
Laugh a little
Laugh a little more
Gladden the heart
of a child
Take pleasure in beauty
and wonder of the earth
Speak your love
Speak it again
Speak it still
once again


Registered Nurse, Rachel Lea Smith Bonham, born in Birmingham, Alabama on December 21, 1957 to Myra C. Smith was found in the floor of her living room at 925 Gordon Avenue, Miles City, Montana on November 3, 1992. She was strangled. Medical help was not called. The undersheriff became the medic, the jury, and the judge.


Instantly, the Custer County Under-Sheriff, Don Neese, created a scenario. He filled out the report stating both manner and cause of death prior to any investigation at all. No pathologist had examined the body, no witnesses had been interviewed, no forensics work had been done on the gun, body, or house. Thereafter he studiously avoided any evidence that contradicted his suicide scenario (also the only Suspect's scenario) and did verbal and logical gymnastics to explain away evidence he could not avoid. Neese stuck to his scenario in spite of mounting physical and testimonial evidence that he was wrong. His motives are known only to him and perhaps his peers at Custer County Sheriffs Department, Miles City Police Department and the present DA Gary Bunke.

Police Chief Wade Schmidt told us Rachel was murdered. His only Suspect was Ronnie Bonham of Alabama. Evidence was contaminated, hid, and destroyed; but we still believe after more than 6 years that someone has the small piece of evidence that when linked with other pieces will somehow, someday bring an arrest for this murder. Help us by emailing us what you know about this case. Our lives are changed forever while this man walks free.

You might have knowledge that would bring the murderer/ murderers to justice, and not have thought it would help. If you knew my daughter, Ronnie Bonham, Gary Lee Smith of Alabama, Rachel's father, or about this case please contact me.

What did our beloved daughter, our dean's list honor student who cared for the the handicapped while a freshman in college, learned and taught sign language for the deaf, cared for the aged and dying, who rescued homeless people and abandoned pets, who dreamed of a cure for AIDS in her lifetime, who was an early organ donor, who while in high school marched in protest of descrimination, and who until her death had faith in and saw good in all humanity get herself into with Ronnie Loyal Bonham, Joseph N. Letourneau, and Charles Ray "Chuck" Boatman that ended her dreams at the age of 34?


"Justice will only be achieved when those who are not injured by crime feel as indignant as those who are." A quote from King Solomon, 635-577 B.C.

Quilt square by Christina Auch