Bandidos Motorcycle Club ‘directly involved’ in murders of Careaga family, investigators say

KITSAP COUNTY, Wash. — Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office detectives, along with the FBI said Thursday evening that members and associates of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club were directly involved in the murders of the Careaga family Jan. 27, 2017 in Seabeck.

Christale Careaga and two teen boys -- 6-year-old Jonathon Higgins and 16-year-old Hunt Schaap -- were found dead in their burned house on Tenino Road West. The remains of the patriarch, John Careaga, were found two days later in his burned-out truck, officials said. He had also been shot.

John Careaga was seen on surveillance video at Camp Union Grocery just hours before the rest of his family was found.

In a news briefing in 2018, law officials named Danie Jay Kelly Junior, now 41 and who was seen in a Target surveillance video and believed to be connected to the case, as a person of interest.

In the video, Kelly was reported to be wearing clothing associated with the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.

Officials said in 2018, they questioned Kelly and others, some who are known associates of Kelly.

During the interviews, authorities said they believed some of the people provided false or misleading information in the case.

As the investigation continues, authorities said they are filling in the gaps concerning the timeline of the murders. Between the late Friday evening of Jan. 27, 2017 and late Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, investigators said they know another location was used to hide John Careaga during his kidnapping and murder.

>>Reward being offered for information on slaying of Seabeck family

Investigators said they working to determine where John and his truck were hidden.

Witnesses have given investigators details as to seeing several vehicles outside a tree farm gate on Northeast Dewatto Holly Road in North Mason County, where John’s body was found, officials said.

Investigators said they are still seeking additional information and are asking anyone who may have seen the truck or noticed suspicious activity on undeveloped property in that area to come forward.

“There are many people that have provided investigators with detailed information; however, there are other witnesses who have yet to be identified,” said Lt. Jon VanGesen of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Investigations Division. “To those persons, investigators advise that you are not alone. If you have information about what happened to this family, please contact the task force. Don’t pay for the actions of others. Investigators want to work with you. Have your attorney contact us.”

Officials said they working to increase public awareness into the investigation and have included efforts like a billboard campaign in Bremerton.

Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound is also offering a reward of $20,000 for information that leads to the arrest and charging of suspects who are responsible for the murder of the Careaga family.