'It's been a long road:' Loved ones react to arrests in 2017 quadruple murders of Careaga family

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said Monday they have arrested three suspects in connection with the murders of a family of four killed in 2017.

Investigators said 43-year-old Johnny Careaga, 37-year-old Christale Careaga and their sons, Hunter Schaap and Johnathon Higgins, both 16 years old, were killed on January 27, 2017.

Deputies responded to their home in the 13400 block of Tenino Drive West in Seabeck after a 911 call for help that Hunter made at about 11:30 p.m. They discovered the home on fire and the bodies of Hunter, Johnathon and Christale inside.

Johnny was found two days later inside his burned 2005 Ford F-150 pickup on tree farm off Dewatto Holly Road in North Mason county more than 15 miles from the Careaga’s home near Lake Tahuyeh.

Kitsap County Sheriff's Lt. Jon Van Gesen told FOX 13 News in 2020 that the Bandidos Motorcycle Club was involved in the murders.

"We know that members and associates of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club were involved in the murders," said Lt. Van Gesen.

Danie Kelly Jr. was named as a person of interest in the case, and he is an associate of the club.

The three suspects, a 43-year-old male from Bremerton, a 50-year-old male from Gig Harbor and a 49-year-old male from Bremerton were booked into the Kitsap County Jail on felony arrest warrants issued by Kitsap County Superior Court.

FOX 13 learned the other two suspects arrested were brothers Robert (Bobby) and Johnny Watson.

RELATED: Careaga family murder: Timeline of the investigation and arrests made

Investigators said the warrants listed 16 different felony charges for each person. The charges range from first-degree aggravated murder, first-degree murder, first-degree arson and first-degree burglary.

"I'm happy that there's gonna be some answers. We've been waiting for over five years for an arrest to be made, so this is a huge step in the right direction. A huge step," said Carly Schaap, Hunter's mom. She told FOX 13 that she will absolutely be in court on Tuesday.

"It's indescribable. To be where we are today-- I didn't think we would get here, to be honest. I didn't have much faith left in humanity, but to know that people care about our family and love us and because of them, we're here. It's such a huge relief off our shoulders…" Christale Careaga's daughter Ashlynn Whitem told FOX 13. 

Bail was set at $20 million for each suspect.

Back in 2020, a $20,000 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest in the case.

Detectives say more people other than the three arrested may be involved.

More information will be released as the investigation continues. 

"It's been a long road. We've never given up. Our detectives have poured blood, sweat and tears into this case," said Lt. Ken Dickinson with the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office. "This is the result of years of tremendous hard work on the part of so many people to finally bring some measure of justice-- or at least begin the process of that-- for the Careaga family."