The 911 call came at about 11:30 pm on Saturday night, claiming that something violent was happening inside a home in Seabeck, Washington. When Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene, they found the building on fire.
After the fire was put out, investigators found a grisly sight: the bodies of 37-year-old Christale Careaga and two 16-year-old boys, Johnathon Higgins and Hunter Schaap.
The house belonged to 43-year-old John Careaga, who was found dead the next day, his body burned in a torched pickup truck on a tree farm in a neighboring county.
Police soon determined that all four of the victims — including John Careaga — were victims of homicide. Citing an ongoing investigation, they have not released a cause of death.
While police have not named any suspects, they believe that this family was targeted. “Based on the investigation and evidence so far, Detectives do not believe these four murders were a random act,” the sheriff’s department said on its Facebook page.
On Monday, the county fire marshal announced that the fires at the home and truck had both been deliberately set.
The sudden violence has rocked Seabeck, a picturesque waterfront town with a population of about 1,100 people.
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John and Christale Careaga were well known in the area. Married in 2009, they owned a restaurant, Juanito’s Taco Shop. Hunter Schaap was John’s son from a previous relationship.
Police did not release how Johnathan Higgins was related to the others, but they say that all four victims were part of a blended family. “They are all family,” Sheriff’s Detective Lt. Earl Smith told reporters, according to The Kitsap Sun.
Police continue to investigate the case as the community processes its shock.
“This vicious crime of murdering a family, including two teenagers is difficult to comprehend for everyone,” the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. “Our thoughts go out to our entire community affected by this tragic loss.”