Careaga family murder: Timeline of the investigation and arrests made

Three people have been arrested in connection with the murders of a Seabeck, Washington family in 2017, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office announced on Monday.

Below is a timeline of the investigation and FOX 13’s previous coverage:

Careaga family murdered in 2017

Left to right: Hunter Schaap, 16; Christale Lynn Careaga, 37; aJohnathon Higgins, 16; and John Careaga, 43.

Before 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 27, 2017, deputies responded to a 911 call from a home in Seabeck near Lake Tahuyeh

"Help. My whole family's shot, me too," said 16-year-old Hunter Schaap.  You can hear the pain, fear and frustration in his voice. "I'm dying. I'm shot right now. My family's dead. When are you coming to me?" he asks.

When deputies arrived, they found Hunter, his 16-year-old brother, Johnathon Higgins, and his mom, 37-year-old Christale Careaga.

From left clockwise, Hunter Schaap, 16; John Careaga's wife, Christale Lynn Careaga, 37; and Johnathon Higgins, 16.

Two days later, 43-year-old Johnny Careaga’s body was found inside his burned out Ford F-150 pickup on a tree farm off Dewatto Holly Road in North Mason county more than 15 miles from the Careaga’s home near Lake Tahuyeh.

Investigators said after 9 p.m. on Jan. 27, 2017, Johnny Careaga was seen at the Camp Union Grocery on Holly Road and he was driving the truck he was found in. In the video, he was seen pulling up next to an unidentified vehicle in the parking lot and was there for a few minutes. Johnny’s truck is seen leaving the store parking lot and the other car drives into a  church parking lot, parks and turns its lights off.

John D. Careaga

Investigation of Seabeck family murder

Days after the quadruple homicide, investigators said they found $60,000 in cash and dozens of marijuana plants on the Seabeck property.

The Kitsap Sun reports that court records say 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 dresser. The marijuana plants were found in a garage.

The court documents did not say whether investigators believe the money or marijuana provided a motive for the killings. No arrests were made at this time. 

>> RELATED: $60,000 cash, dozens of marijuana plants found at scene of Kitsap County murders

"This is obviously a tragic event that affects not just the family but the entire community, someone willing to kill an entire family like this," said Det. Lt. Earl Smith.

Investigators received help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office names a person of interest

Nearly a year after the quadruple homicides, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said Danie Jay Kelly, Jr. was identified as a person of interest.

In January 2018, the sheriff’s office released a surveillance image of Kelly in a Target store from more than a week before the murders. In the store, he was seen wearing clothing associated with the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.

>>RELATED: Police: ‘Culture of violence’ holds true for Washington’s largest biker gang

In January 2018, the sheriff’s office released a surveillance image of Kelly in a Target store from more than a week before the murders. In the store, he was seen wearing clothing associated with the Bandidos Motorcycle Club. 

Investigators spoke to him about the case, and he remained as a person of interest. 

There were other persons of interest and some were known associates of Kelly, investigators said. 

In January 2020, detectives and FBI special agents, announced that members and associates of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club were directly involved in the murders of the Careaga family. 

Danie Jay Kelly, Jr. 

Kelly remained as a person of interest and is known as an associate of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club

Cash reward offered by Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound

A week after the quadruple murders, Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound offered a reward of $4,000. 

Nearly a year after, the reward was increased to $20,000 for information on the case, leads to the arrest and charging of the suspects who were responsible for the murders.

Arrests made in connection with the murders of Careaga family

On June 6, 2022, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office announced that three suspects in connection with the murders of the family. 

The three suspects, a 43-year-old male from Bremerton, a 50-year-old male from Gig Harbor and a 49-year-old male from Bremerton were booked into the Kitsap County Jail on felony arrest warrants issued by Kitsap County Superior Court.

Kelly, who was previously named as a person of interest, was in custody, according to the Kitsap County Jail Roster.

FOX 13 learned that the other two arrested were brothers Robert (Bobby) and Johnny Watson.

3 suspects arrested in quadruple murders of Careaga family in 2017

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said Monday they have arrested three suspects in connection with the murders of a family of four killed in 2017.

Investigators said the warrants listed sixteen different felony charges for each person. The charges range from Aggravated Murder in the First Degree, Murder in the First Degree, Arson First Degree, and Burglary First Degree. 

Bail was set at $20 million for each suspect.