HOLBROOK, Idaho -- Police in Idaho are investigating a triple murder they’ve said is both disturbing and confusing.
The discovery of three bodies inside a home has led police to a dog fighting ring and drug operation, all on the same property.
“It’s frustrating in a way because it’s not cut and dry at all,” Sheriff Jeff Semrad of Oneida County said.
It happened just over the Utah border, in the small town of Holbrook, Idaho, about 10 miles north of Snowville, Utah. Officers found three people shot to death, and then two children who they believe were there when it all happened.
Semrad said, “It’s all disturbing, but just to see what the little kids went through is even more disturbing.”
The children, ages 2 and 2 months, were found Friday afternoon, nearly a whole day after police believe their parents, Trent Jon Christensen, 32, and Yavette Chivon Carter, 27, along with their grandfather, Brent L. Christensen, 61, were all killed. It was a friend of the family, who happened to be stopping by, that stumbled upon their bodies and called police.
“When my officers went in, the mother had actually taken the baby and put her under her arm to try and protect the baby when this all happened,” said Semrad, who believes it was someone the family knew that came to their door Thursday evening with the intent to kill.
“It definitely started at the front door,” he said. “There are signs of a struggle inside. There are signs there and evidence that they did know one another.”
But in the hours since police began investigating the murders, they have learned this is much more than just a homicide case. A search of the property uncovered a dog fighting ring, with up to 70 pit bull dogs and puppies inside, and in the basement of the home, a marijuana growing operation totaling almost $100,000.
Semrad said: “So, we have a dog fighting ring going on here, 38 plants, marijuana plants in the basement, pretty good grow operation there. And so we just don’t know right now. Is it drug related, or not? Maybe it’s not related to either one of those things.”
It’s two days into their investigation, and Semrad said he has more questions than answers. The Oneida County Sheriff’s Department is asking anyone who may have attended an Easter party held at the residence on March 31 to contact their office at 208-766-2251.
Police would also like to speak with the drivers of two different semi tractors: One described as a blue semi-tractor with white, block-style lettering, and the other as a red semi-tractor. According to officials, both semi-tractors, not pulling trailers, were seen at the residence during the last week. Police said the drivers are not suspects, but may have information valuable to the investigation.
“This is just farm country out here,” Semrad said. “And the small community, there are good people out here, hard workers, farmers, and nothing like this has ever happened. So, it’s a shock to everyone.”