Yes it muddies things a bit, also has some items that fit... The Brunswick newspaper identifies Crabtree's rank as Captain, that fits his actual CSA Rank in late 62 and 63 and his rank when ordered to recruit in Missouri by McRae. The info that Wiley Schumate was running the guerilla unit in 64 also fits as we know that Crabtree returned to Arkansas and helped Coleman form the Arkansas 40's, those units being 44,45,46,47 Arkansas Mounted Infantry units formed early in 64 and he was the defacto Colonel in Charge of Crabtree's Cavalry for Prices Expedition in the fall of that year.
I don't know if we will ever know for sure, but I'm pretty sure that there were not many folks named Crabtree that were CSA officers that had legitimate recruiting orders in Missouri for the time indicated. I also don't know if we will ever know the true identity of the poor soul the local posse killed but I can't say they didn't kill someone and that they were convinced it was Crabtree either. With all that said, there are any number of examples where the death of a person was prematurely reported sometimes more than once during the fog of Missouri guerilla warfare.