CENTRAL KITSAP — Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office detectives searching the Lake Tahuyeh-area property where three people were found dead Saturday discovered miscellaneous shell casings outside, along with about $60,000 cash in the master bedroom and 33 mature marijuana plants in a garage, according to court records.
Investigators also found a single latex glove near the burned truck where John D. Careaga’s body was found, located in a remote part of North Mason County near Dewatto, about 15 miles from Careaga’s house near Lake Tahuyeh.
John Careaga, 43, wife Christale Lynn Careaga, 37, and the couple’s sons in their blended family, Hunter E. Schaap, 16, and Johnathon F. Higgins, 16, were all killed, according to investigators.
Investigators do not believe the dead were randomly targeted and believe that John Careaga might have been the prime target.
“I think (the killer or killers) had more interest in him only because he was isolated and not found at the residence like the others were,” Detective Lt. Earl Smith said.
The Sheriff’s Office’s entire detective division is working on the case, and authorities have met and spoke with agents with the FBI and ATF, Smith said.
The inventory of the investigator’s search of the property and the truck were included with search warrants for first-degree murder and first-degree arson. The warrants were requested from a Kitsap Superior Court judge and filed Tuesday.
They do not contain a narrative of how detectives think the evidence fits into what happened to the family and only list the specific items taken.
More than $50,000 was found in a safe under the master bedroom bed, and $7,000 was found in a bank bag in a master bedroom dresser, according to documents.
The Careagas owned Christale’s Java Hut and Juanito’s Taco Shop on Kitsap Way, and it is not uncommon for small-business owners to keep cash on hand.
Along with the 33 mature marijuana plants in the garage, investigators found 10 grow lights.
Under state law, medical marijuana patients can band together and grow multiple plants for use, though it is unknown whether anyone on the property was authorized to conduct a collective grow.
The shell casings, which investigators wrote were mostly 9 mm, were located on a back deck and on the driveway, according to documents. The bodies of the three family members were found inside the residence. Investigators have declined to say how the four people were killed.
Investigators also took samples from the fire, cellphones and other items from the residence.
The incident began when a person called 911 at 11:28 p.m. Friday and said violence was being committed in the house off Gold Creek Road. The line disconnected, and 911 dispatchers were unable to reach the caller. When authorities arrived, the house was on fire. The remains of the three people were found by firefighters. John Careaga's body was found in the burned truck Sunday.
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