Monthly Archives: January 2017

Four found dead after Lake Tahuya house fire were murdered

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

CENTRAL KITSAP — The three people found Friday dead inside a burning house near Tahuya Lake were identified Monday night as two 16-year-old boys and a 37-year-old woman.

All died from homicide, as did another person found later in Mason County inside a burned truck, who has not yet been identified.

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office called the homicides a “quadruple murder.”

The office identified the three people as Christale Lynn Careaga, 37, Hunter E. Schaap, 16, and Johnathon F. Higgins, 16.

Detective Lt. Earl Smith declined to give details of the investigation, including how the four people died and where in Mason County the truck was found, but said the body in the truck needed additional forensic examination before a positive identification could be made.

The owner of the house, John Derek Careaga, 43, was initially sought after by investigators, who were also searching for the Ford truck.

“We’re going to continue to process evidence, we’re going to continue to interview witnesses, we’re still out there, reaching out to folks, asking people to call,” Smith said. “There are just a lot of things left to do, and this is our number one priority, obviously, and we are working on it full time.”

Those with information on the homicides can call Detective Lissa Gundrum at 360-337-5669. Callers can remain anonymous.

Another clue in the mystery of man found on Bainbridge Island shore


The Kitsap Coroner’s Office is seeking the public’s help identifying a man who was found washed ashore on Bainbridge Island in August, and released a photo of a shirt he was wearing when found.

Last week they released a composite sketch of the man.

Here is the latest story on the investigation, which includes links to previous stories.


The man was discovered Aug. 30 near Hawley Cove Park, not too far from the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal. He was found to have drowned, and was estimated in to be in his 60s.

Investigators have combed through missing persons reports, as well as followed up on tips about the man’s identity, to no avail.

What possibly makes the case hard to crack is the mysterious nature of how bodies move through the Puget Sound, often undetected until they wash ashore.

In January 2014, the body of a Brinnon woman was found on the shore of Blake Island, off the South Kitsap shoreline. Collete Scotta Russell, 46, was reported missing six days earlier from the trawler she worked aboard, which was docked near the Magnolia neighborhood in Seattle.

In December 2014, the body of Lawrence E. Zane, 73, of Burien, was found on a beach in Indianola.

If both Russell and Zane entered the water near where they were reported missing, or lived, it means their bodies passed through busy shipping lanes — including ferry routes — without being noticed.

Those with information on the man’s identity can contact Kitsap Chief Deputy Coroner Tony Stewart at 360-337-7077.