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The Message:
Please Contact Us
We’d Like To Discuss Murder

May 16, 2018

The burned out vehicle that Mr. Careaga's remains were found in. The truck was located in Mason County.

By Rex D. Cain

(PORT ORCHARD, WA.) – One of the most horrific unsolved crimes here in the Pacific Northwest, arguably thee most horrific in recent years since it involves four members of one family, is the shocking murders last year of a family from Seabeck, Washington.

Seabeck is a quiet, tiny blip on the map (pop. just over 1100) in Kitsap County. A sleepy old former lumber mill town situated along scenic Hood Canal that dates back to 1857. There’s a general store, a conference center, a marina and a couple other signs of commerce and that’s it.

The village swells with vacationers, sun lovers and water skiers in the summer months, shrinks back to normal come late fall and winter.

Zero heavy crime happens there. More correctly, used to happen there. But all that changed on January 27, 2017 with a burning house, bodies inside and a missing man who was later found murdered.

The scenario: a seemingly average family of four in tiny Seabeck was brutally slaughtered, although not in the same place, for reasons investigators have not yet released to the public.

The bodies

Human remains found in a burned-out vehicle found Sunday Jan. 29, 2017 in Mason County turned out to be that of 43 year old John D. Careaga, the husband and father of the family.

The Kitsap County Coroner's Office identified the three bodies found in the burning home Saturday Jan. 28, 2017 as Mr. Careaga's wife and his two teenage sons:

37 year old Christale Lynn Careaga
16 year old Johnathon F. Higgins
16 year old Hunter E. Schaap

They were all shot in their home on Tenino Drive West in Seabeck, in unincorporated Kitsap County. The house was set on fire.

One year later the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office released more information on its ongoing investigation into the murders of the Careaga family .

"Based on the investigation and evidence so far, Detectives do not believe these four murders were a random act," said a statement from the Kitsap County Sheriff's office in early February of last year.

John Careaga and his truck had been missing since at least 11:30 pm. Friday evening Jan. 27. That's when sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call about what they described as a “violent occurrence” happening in the home.

The 911 call from a dying teenager

On that night Cencom received a 911 call from Hunter Schaap. Hunter said his family had been shot and they were dead. He provided the address to the 911 operator. Hunter says he too has been shot and pleads for help.

When they got there officers couldn’t go inside because the house was on fire. Once the flames had been doused the three bodies in the home were discovered.

The sheriff’s office said at the time that in order to maintain the integrity of the case and not compromise the investigation, there were many specific details not being released. Right away it seems, the sheriff’s office reached out and asked for help from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) and the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab.

This was big. Scary, ugly old school Chicago mob hits don’t get any worse or scarier than this.

Since that time detectives have been busting hump working numerous leads and tips from the public and from the crime scenes. They’re probably working leads in their sleep. These are matters that can consume an investigator, eat him or her alive if they’re not careful to maintain balance and perspective.

The statement

Which brings us to the interesting statement released yesterday afternoon by the sheriff’s office. You could call it a, “Let’s get together and talk” invite. There is somebody out there that knows something important about this case, so important that the sheriff's office has decided to use the media to communicate directly to that person or persons.

You don’t often see these kinds of statements released by authorities in these kinds of cases (hardly at all) so you know this is a significant move on the chess board. You know this is a matter of importance in this probe.

Here’s the statement:

“The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office has received a substantial amount of leads regarding the investigation into the Careaga family murders.

The continued cooperation from members of the public has been overwhelmingly positive as it has helped broaden the investigation.

Earlier this year, sheriff’s detectives identified Danie Jay Kelly Jr., age 39, as one person of interest in this investigation. Mr. Kelly is the individual in the previously released still photo from the Silverdale Target store where he is seen wearing Bandidos Motorcycle Club attire.

However, Mr. Kelly is not the only person of interest to law enforcement at this time. Recently, detectives received valuable information from the community regarding additional persons of interest who are known associates of Mr. Kelly.

This information may contain a critical piece to this investigation. The sheriff’s office is requesting that the author(s) of recently submitted letters, or other members of the public who have information to provide, to please contact Kitsap County Sheriff’s detectives via:

• Task Force hotline: 360-337-5613
• Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound: 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or the P3 tip app on your phone.

We are looking to engage in further discussions. You may continue to remain anonymous, if desired.”

Deciphered: detectives received information from somebody, they don’t know who (or maybe they do), that is very important. Really important. So important they’ll use the media as an instantaneous, blanket-all communication super highway to reach out to that person and say, Please let’s talk. We really need to know more from you.

So, if you’re reading this and you are the YOU they mean, then it would appear to be the very, very right thing to do to contact them - even if you are frightened - and communicate what you know.

If somebody slaughtered your family, that’s what you would want.

Isn’t it?



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