Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Police Lt. Dave Ross talks to reporters during a media conference on the human remains found that investigators believe belong to a mothers, her two daughters and boyfriend who have  been missing for nearly ten months on Monday Jan. 23, 2015 in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Police Lt. Dave Ross talks to reporters during a media conference on the human remains found that investigators believe belong to a mothers, her two daughters and boyfriend who have been missing for nearly ten months on Monday Jan. 23, 2015 in Kenai, Alaska.

Investigators find four bodies, a dog and a handgun in a Kenai field

  • By Rashah McChesney
  • Monday, March 23, 2015 2:26pm
  • News

In a shallow depression, just 45 feet off of a wide and well-traveled path, Kenai police found a handgun, the remains of four people and a dog.

Investigators are not saying who owned the gun or if it had been fired, only that they believe the remains to be those of the mother, her two daughters and boyfriend, that they’re investigating the deaths as homicides — and that they have no evidence pointing to another person being involved in the crime.

The remains were found in a field between Borgen Avenue and Alpine Drive less than one-half mile from the apartment where Rebecca Adams, her two daughters Jaracca and Michelle Hundley, boyfriend Brandon Jividen and the family dog “Sparks” had been living before they disappeared in late May of 2014. The gun’s serial number matched one on a box found in the apartment, police said.

Adams was 22 when she disappeared; her daughter Michelle Hundley was 5 and Jarracca Hundley 3. Brandon Jividen was 37 at the time. Adams lived upstairs in a four-plex on California Avenue off of Wildwood Drive in north Kenai for almost two years. Jividen moved in when she renewed her lease, their property managers said.

Officers responding to a welfare check on May 31, 2014 found the apartment locked and no appearance of any struggle on the inside. Both Jividen’s black truck and Adams’ car were parked in the carport.

Police launched an extensive search to find the two and spent nearly ten months bringing dive teams, dogs and coordinating search missions with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and other agencies to canvass the area. When the Kenai Police Department stopped coordinating daily searches, community volunteers on all-terrain vehicles and horseback canvassed the trails around the Wildwood Correctional Facility.

But no one found anything until a person driving down one of several dozen trails in the area found a piece of clothing and human remains. It was reported to Kenai Police at about 9:50 p.m. Saturday and officers on-scene found the remains of the family, their dog and a gun — though Kenai Police Department Lt. David Ross said during a Monday press conference that he would not go into detail about the condition of the remains out of respect for the family. He said the remains of the dog were consistent in size with those of the family’s missing brown and white English springer spaniel Sparks.

The area is not heavily wooded and had been previously searched by investigators.

“This area was definitely searched by aircraft, we believe our scent detection dog was very close, we had people very close. If you’ve been out there, the Alaska wilderness is a challenging place to search,” Ross said.

The parcel where the remains were found is located just north of the family’s home on California Drive and east of the Wildwood correctional facility. Ross said investigators found things that led them into the woods west of the area where the bodies were found.

“There were clues,” he said. “There was a bait station out in the woods used by Jividen in the other direction. There was a scent detection dog hit in a pond early last spring when we had divers come and search the pond. That article of clothing that was found in the fall was found in the other direction and a lot of people saw them walking the other direction.”

The parcel where the family was found is the only privately owned parcel among a group belonging to the Department of Natural Resources, Kenai Peninsula Borough and Kenai Native Association Inc., according to borough records. Ross said he didn’t know if anyone had contacted the landowner but that they were working under an active search warrant for the parcel.

At least 200 yards of grasslands and woods has been cordoned off from public access.

“They’ve got a circle delineated out there that they believe most, if not all of the evidence is within,” he said.

While Ross said he was “very confident,” that the remains were those of the missing family, he would not discuss how they had died. The medical examiner’s office was on-scene Monday and will confirm the identities of the victims.

As he spoke, members of Adams’ family cried quietly in a row of chairs at City Hall where they sat with Kenai Mayor Pat Porter. Their last contact with Adams had been alarming and several family members were among those who led volunteer search efforts in the woods.

Their last contact with Adams had been alarming.

Lanell Adams, Rebecca Adams’ sister, said she got a phone call around Memorial Day weekend in 2014.

“She sounded very distressed,” Lanell Adams said during a previous Clarion interview. “She just told me ‘know that I love you,’ and she had to get off the phone very quickly.”

It’s the second time in recent years that the Adams and Hundley families have dealt with tragedy. Michelle and Jarraca Hundley’s father, Jaramiah Hundley, died in a motorcycle accident on May 30, 2012.

The families released a joint statement asking for privacy.

“Our family was deeply saddened by this weekend’s development,” Ross read. “We will continue to work with law enforcement to bring closure to this heartbreaking situation.”

While there is no evidence of another person involved in the crime and none that the family had been moved from the spot where they were found, Ross said investigators were still working to determine circumstances around the deaths.

“We don’t have any reason to believe, from what we’ve collected, that they were transported there,” he said. “I’m not saying that I can rule that out 100 percent at this point … but we don’t have any evidence to suggest that they were moved there.”

Reach Rashah McChesney at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com or follow her on Twitter @litmuslens.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Investigators set up a temporary facility between Alpine Drive and Borgen Avenue on Sunday March 22, 2015 after finding the remains of what Kenai Police believe to be a family that has been missing for nearly 10 months from their Kenai, Alaska home. While most of the land in the immediate area is state or federally owned, the place where police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigators is focusing their efforts, is a privately owned parcel which belongs to a woman from Sterling, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Investigators set up a temporary facility between Alpine Drive and Borgen Avenue on Sunday March 22, 2015 after finding the remains of what Kenai Police believe to be a family that has been missing for nearly 10 months from their Kenai, Alaska home. While most of the land in the immediate area is state or federally owned, the place where police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigators is focusing their efforts, is a privately owned parcel which belongs to a woman from Sterling, Alaska.

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