ANCHORAGE, Alaska (TCD) — A 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of killing his National Guard member wife after he pleaded for her safe return and helped her mother search for her.
Saria Hildabrand was reported missing to the Anchorage Police Department Aug. 7 after she was last seen the morning prior at approximately 10 a.m. near Mockingbird Drive and Alpenhorn Avenue.
On Aug. 9, officers and the department’s Crime Scene Team went to the 5200 block of Mockingbird Drive “for an ongoing investigation,” and the same occurred the next day on the 1400 block of Alpenhorn Avenue.
Anchorage Police announced Aug. 11 that Hildabrand’s disappearance was being investigated as a homicide, and as a result, police arrested her husband, Zarrius Hildabrand, on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and tampering with evidence.
According to KTUU-TV, investigators discovered Saria Hildabrand’s body in a storm drain.
Both Hildabrands were both in the military. Saria Hildabrand served in the Alaska Army National Guard and Zarrius Hildabrand was in the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne). Saria recently moved to Alaska from Utah, where she also served in the Utah Army National Guard.
On Aug. 5, the couple reportedly spent the night out with friends for Zarrius’ 21st birthday. They got back to their apartment in the early morning hours of Aug. 6. A neighbor reportedly heard a gunshot at 2:45 a.m.
Court documents cited by KTUU say Zarrius Hildabrand informed investigators his wife went to work at 10 a.m. but left her phone at home. At 10:45 a.m., however, her c-workers got a text from her saying she was not coming in that day.
Hildabrand allegedly “didn’t really worry about his wife” until about 12 hours later when he started driving around searching for her. He claimed he reported her missing Monday, Aug. 7, because he thought she would come home and claim it was a “misunderstanding.”
KSL.com, which also cites court documents, reports Hildabrand allegedly changed his story several times about what he did Aug. 6. He allegedly went to a store and bought marinara sauce, hydrogen peroxide, sheets, a mattress cover, a spray bottle, and other items.
Investigators searched the apartment and discovered the mattress was “saturated by human blood.”
Detectives reportedly wrote in the charging document, “There was so much blood on the mattress that the blood soaked through onto the carpet and into the wood frame.”
According to the Anchorage Daily News, Saria’s mom, Meredith Barney, said Zarrius “walked around for hours with me searching for my daughter knowing that she was dead. He lied to me multiple times, and tried to play it off like he was a concerned husband.”
Be sure to check out the True Crime Daily The Podcast episode about Saria’s death below.