Sheriff’s office asks public for information on Kelly’s associates

PORT ORCHARD — The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with knowledge of any associates of Danie Jay Kelly Jr, a person of interest in the Careaga family murders, to come forward.

Kelly was identified as a person of interest by the sheriff’s office after being caught on surveillance camera footage entering a Silverdale Target store 12 days prior to the Careaga murders.

According to a Sheriff’s Office news statement released May 15, Kelly is not the only person of interest known to law enforcement. Authorities are “requesting that the author(s) of recently submitted letters, or other members of the public who have information to provide, to please contact Kitsap County Sheriff’s detectives.”

Christale Careaga, her son Johnathon Higgins, and stepson Hunter Schaap were found dead in their Seabeck home on Jan. 27, 2017. John Careaga, Christale’s husband, was found dead the next day at another location — in his pickup truck, at a Mason County tree farm. The house and pickup had been set on fire. Authorities say all four were murdered and that the slayings were not random.

In January 2018, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Detective Lt. Jon Van Gesen told reporters Kelly remained a person of interest after speaking with authorities.

“Mr. Kelly remains a person of interest,” Van Gesen said in January. “There are other persons of interest, some who are known associates of Mr. Kelly. All persons are being actively investigated by the task force.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound at 1-800-222-TIPS or the Task Force hotline at 360-337-5613.

Video from the January 11 update on the Careaga family murder investigation

—Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter with Kitsap News Group. Nick can be reached at

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