A 21-year-old soldier has been accused of murdering his wife – after leading the search to find her!
According to the Anchorage Police Department, Army Spc. Zarrius Hildabrand reported his partner Saria Hildabrand, who was a 21-year-old medic in the National Guard, missing on Monday, August 7. Four days later, she was found in a drain pipe with an apparent gunshot wound to her left temple. And in a shocking twist, law enforcement then announced Zarrius was arrested for first and second-degree murder and two counts of tampering with physical evidence.
What made the arrest such a surprise? He had been helping to look for Saria with the police and family! Court documents obtained by CBS News earlier this week stated that Zarrius told police the pair were partying with friends at Dave & Busters on August 5 to celebrate his birthday and returned home at around 2:00 a.m. He said they both later woke up with a hangover. However, Saria had to go to work at a sandwich shop called Bread & Brew. Since neither of them felt OK enough to drive, she decided to walk to the establishment instead.
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Zarrius claimed his wife took her purse and wallet but forgot to grab her cell phone before leaving their home. He told authorities it wasn’t until 7:00 p.m. that he realized she was missing. When Zarrius arrived at the sandwich ship to pick up Saria, he found out she never arrived for her shift that day.
Since then, he told cops “he had been searching for Saria.” Zarrius went to friends’ houses, reached out to her parents, and even contacted the local jail and hospitals. He also allegedly drove around the neighborhood. But his efforts were fruitless. Zarrius decided to file a missing person report with the police last Monday. As for why he waited so long? He explained to officers he held off on the report “because he thought he might find his wife and find it was a misunderstanding.”
When police got involved, Zarrius took them along the path his wife normally took to walk to work. But cops and volunteers searching the route didn’t find anything. Zarrius went on to post desperate pleas on Facebook asking for help in finding Saria. See (below):
However, the police soon become suspicious of Zarrius. The day after filing the missing person’s report, law enforcement went to look at his and Saria’s home – and what they found was jaw-dropping!
Per the court docs, investigators discovered there was no sheet on the bed – only a mattress pad on top. There was a new set, but it was still in the packaging on the kitchen table. Zarrius told detectives Saria bought the new sheets, and the bed did have one on it. He went on to slightly lift the mattress pad and showed them there was actually a fitted sheet hiding underneath. But when cops asked to look underneath the sheet, Zarrius refused:
“He said we couldn’t search under the bed because there was ’embarrassing’ items underneath. He finally told us it was stuff used for sex. We asked him if he would move those items while we looked away, and again he said we couldn’t look under the bed.”
Sus! The next day, police came back to the house with a search warrant. A crime scene team lifted the mattress pad and found it “saturated by human blood.” Two handguns were also found during the search – but Zarrius previously told authorities there was only one gun inside the home.
And this wasn’t the only evidence. Police said Zarrius’ story had inconsistencies to it. He originally claimed to have stayed home the day Saria went missing and later drove to pick her up from work. However, Zarrius later alleged he left their place to run errands. He also initially said his wife forgot her phone and left for work at 10:00 a.m. But law enforcement found her phone was used to send a text calling out of work at Bread & Brew at 10:45 a.m.
According to the court docs, Zarrius then went to the store three times on August 6 to purchase several items, including bed sheets, a mattress cover, hydrogen peroxide, a spray bottle, and marinara sauce. Based on their findings, police arrested and charged Zarrius with murder.
After being taken into custody, Saria’s mom, Meredith Barney, opened up about Zarrius, telling Anchorage Daily News he “walked around for hours with me searching for my daughter knowing that she was dead.” Awful. She added:
“He lied to me multiple times and tried to play it off like he was a concerned husband.”
The deceit and betrayal from this man must have been heartbreaking for her! As for her daughter, she shared with the Associated Press:
“She was such a hard worker — really driven. She was a really great big sister. She really cared about people. She was smart and ready to move forward, looking toward her future.”
Saria was also honored by the National Guard, with a spokesperson saying:
“Spc. Hildabrand took an oath to selflessly serve and defend not only the state of Alaska, but the entire nation, a commitment worthy of admiration and respect. Her untimely passing impacts everyone on the Alaska National Guard team. She will be sorely missed.”
Hopefully, this family gets some justice for Saria soon. Reactions to the case, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments below.
[Image via Alaska’s News Source/YouTube]