Crime Kitsap County firefighters and deputies respond to a homicide at a home near Lake Tahuya in Seabeck.

Published on January 31st, 2017 | by The Kitsap Scene


Updated: Everything We Know So Far About Kitsap’s ‘Quadruple Homicide’ in Seabeck


The Kitsap Sun is reporting that John D. Careaga was seen around 9 p.m. Friday at the Camp Union Store, per the sheriff’s office.

Previous Update:

Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help: anyone with video facing the roadway around the following roads between Friday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 29 at 2 p.m., are asked to call Detective Lissa Gundrum at 360-337-5669.

The roadways are:

  • Gold Creek Road
  • Bear Creek Dewatto Road
  • Dewatto Road
  • Dewatto-Holly Road
  • Elfendahl Pass Road
  • Tahuya Blacksmith Road
  • Tee Lake Road

Additionally, Q13 reports that Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound is offering a $4,000 reward for information in the case. 

To submit information, use the P3 Tips phone app, call 1-800-22-TIPS, or go to You are guaranteed to be anonymous. 

Original Post:

Four people are dead in  Kitsap County’s largest mass homicide in years — what the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office is calling a “quadruple homicide.”

The story is still developing, but here is everything we know about the incident to date.

What Happened?

John Careaga

John Careaga

Someone placed a call to 911 late last Friday, Jan. 27, reporting “an incident of violence” at a residence near Tahuya Lake, in the Seabeck area. The identity of the person who called 911 is not known.

Both firefighters and deputies from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call and found the house on fire. After getting the fire under control, firefighters found three bodies inside the home.

Deputies began searching for John D. Careaga, 43, to speak with him about the incident, and were searching for a truck — a brown Ford F150 — that was missing from the home.

The burned-up remains of the truck were found on Sunday in rural Mason County, burnt, with a body inside it. The sheriff’s office confirmed today that it was Careaga’s body. The Kitsap Sun reports that the truck was located on a tree farm on Northwest Dewatto-Holly Road, south of Forest Springs Road in Mason County.

The sheriff’s office is being tight-lipped about many of the details of the case, citing a need to maintain the integrity of their investigation, although they have stated that it does not appear the killings were a “random act.”

While the department has yet to say how it appears the victims were killed, they have said that it appears both the house and truck fire were intentionally set.

The Kitsap Sun reports that this was likely the largest homicide in Kitsap County, in terms of the number of victims, since the Erland’s Point Massacre in Bremerton in 1934, in which six people were murdered.

Who Were the Victims?

The coroner’s office identified the three victims found inside the burnt home as Christale Lynn Careaga, 37; Johnathon F. Higgins, 16; and Hunter E. Schaap, 16.

The body found in the truck, as mentioned above, belonged to John Careaga, 43.

The sheriff’s office says all four people died as a result of “homicidal violence.” Some details are not being released to “maintain the integrity of the investigation,” the sheriff’s office says. But, the department does say that, based on the evidence thus far, it does not appear the murders were “a random act.”

The victims all belonged to a blended family, according to the Kitsap Sun.

The community is reeling in the face of the murders.

Flowers line the front of Juanitos Taco Shop on Kitsap Way, which was run by Christale and John Careaga. (Photo courtesy of GoFundMe page)

Flowers line the front of Juanitos Taco Shop on Kitsap Way, which was run by Christale and John Careaga. (Photo courtesy of GoFundMe page)

Klahowya Principal Jodie Woolf, principal at Klahowya Secondary School, where Higgins was an 11th-grader, told the Kitsap Sun the school is “deeply saddened by this loss.”

Schaap was a student at North Kitsap High School. Students there laid roses next to a rock painted with the words “RIP Hunter We miss you,” and students wore red in his memory, according to the Kitsap Sun.

Christale and John Careaga were the owners of Juanitos Taco Shop on Kitsap Way, according to a GoFundMe page set up for the family’s funeral expenses. The front of the restaurant was lined with flowers.

How You Can Help

The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information on the murders to call Detective Lissa Gundrum at 360-337-5669. Callers can remain anonymous.

Additionally, a GoFundMe page has been set up to receive donations to help pay for the victims’ funeral expenses. So far the fund has received more than $8,000 in donations.

About the Author

The Kitsap Scene is an online news magazine covering everything in Kitsap County.

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