News of a family of four missing from their north Kenai residence for nearly two weeks has been unsettling for residents who described the neighborhood as quiet with transient people who don’t live in the area long.
“We don’t know everybody in our building much less buildings down the street,” said Amy Murrell-Haunold, who has lived on California Avenue for five years. “It’s scary. I didn’t expect anything like this to happen.”
While authorities have received new information every day during their investigation into the family’s disappearance, Kenai Police Chief Gus Sandahl said there has been no big break that would lead investigators to search in a specific location.
Sandahl said the last physical evidence of a sighting for Rebecca Adams, 22, and her two daughters Michelle Hundley, 5, and Jaracca Hundley, 3, came from video surveillance at a Kenai business on May 18. Adams’ family has disclosed to police phone conversations with Adams around Memorial Day weekend.
Also missing is Adams’ boyfriend, 37-year-old Brandon Jividen, and the family dog named Sparks, a brown and white English springer spaniel. During the second day of briefings, police had little new information to provide, but Sandahl said they are taking all logical steps to find the missing group.
“We remain optimistic we will be able to reunite them with their family,” Sandahl said. “We want nothing more at this point and hope they are safe.”
The family lived upstairs in a four-plex on California Avenue off of Wildwood Drive in North Kenai for almost two years, said property managers Jeff Pfile and Anna Haave. The two said they first became concerned when the rent went unpaid and they did not hear from the family after the five-day grace period.
“If I felt they were going out of town I would have been the first person they called because they are so responsible (for paying their rent on time),” Haave said. “For them to not say anything is not normal.”
Haave said at first she thought the family went camping, but still found it strange they didn’t make arrangements to pay rent prior to leaving. She talked to a neighbor, who first noticed the group missing before June 1. When Haave visited the complex, she said she noticed their storage area under a carport was open and both Jividen’s black truck and Adams’ car were parked there.
“They left everything — kayak, canoe, camping gear, the kids’ car seats,” Haave said. “Given the circumstances I didn’t feel things were adding up.”
The father of Michelle and Jaracca Hundley, Jaramiah Hundley, died in a motorcycle accident May 30, 2012.
Sandahl said finding the missing family is the top priority for the Kenai Police Department. The Kenai Fire Department along with residents in the community have joined the ground search, which already includes Federal Bureau of Investigation agents from Anchorage and the Alaska and Mat-Su Search and Rescue dog teams. The Alaska State Troopers have provided a helicopter to search the area from the air.
The search has expanded from the epicenter of their apartment building on California Avenue to the forested areas north of Wildwood Correction Facility, Sandahl said. Police have also used all-terrain vehicles to access trails and officers have interviewed neighbors.
Sandahl said photos of the missing family have been sent to all law enforcement agencies in Alaska. He said he hopes everyone in Alaska would make a mental note of the pictures of the missing family and if they do see them to call the Kenai Police at 907-283-7879.
“Don’t assume information isn’t worthwhile; we want to hear anything that may help,” he said.
Anyone who lives in the area of Wildwood Drive, California Street, First Street and Second Street in Kenai and has seen anything suspicious over the last couple weeks is asked to share the information.
Haave said Adams first moved into the apartment with her two daughters and a couple of roommates nearly two years ago, but had asked her landlord to evict her roommates after the first month. Adams put a restraining order on her roommates and Haave said she was able to evict them within 24 hours.
According to Alaska court records, Adams filed for a protective order from Samantha Sallison and Jonah Bailey on Nov. 8, 2012.
Adams’ cousin Audre Gifford said her family didn’t know much about Brandon Jividen when the two first began dating, only that he moved to Alaska from West Virginia.
When she came to sign a new lease, Adams brought Jividen and said he was going to sign the lease too.
“He gave me so little information, no emergency contacts, only a name and Social Security number,” Haave said.
Pfile said the mood of the neighborhood has always been mellow with kids playing in the yard and has not any issues like this until now.
Jividen is described as 6 feet tall with brown hair and eyes. Adams is 5 feet, 4 inches tall, weighs 100 pounds with sandy blonde hair. Michelle has strawberry blonde hair and Jaracca has curly light brown hair.
“I can’t say I remember their kids with so many running around all the time,” Murrell-Haunold said. “I would not be able to point them out. I hope it ends well and they come back safe.”
Reach Dan Balmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.