ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A U.S. Army soldier in Alaska has been taken into custody for the murder of his wife after her body was found secreted in a storm drain following an extensive search in Alaska, according to reports.
Zarrius Hildabrand, 21, was booked in the city jail and faces charges of first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife, 21-year-old Saria Hildabrand. He also faces charges of evidence tampering in the case, the Anchorage Police Department said Friday morning, Alaska Public Media reported.
After a dayslong search, Saria’s body was discovered in a storm drain, which then led to her husband’s arrest, according to authorities.
Saria was a combat medic in the Alaska National Guard. Her family said she vanished Aug. 6 after failing to report to her regular job.
Anchorage police said Saria Barney Hildabrand, 21,an Alaska Army National Guardsman last seen at her apartment on Aug. 6, 2023, was shot and killed by her husband, 21-year-old Zarrius Hildabrand. (Courtesy Brittany Monson)
Zarrius was the last person to see her when she supposedly departed their apartment that morning to walk to work at Bread & Brew Alaska. However, she never arrived and he reported his wife missing on Monday, according to family members, Law&Crime reported.
The victim’s mother, Meredith Barney, requested that Zarrius be kept in custody. She spoke to a KTUU-TV reporter at Friday’s court hearing.
“She’s just like the most amazing, precious child ever,” Barney said. “She’s just always been looking for the future, happy, and really, like, loved. She loved everybody. Everyone loved her.”
Barney was staggered by the fate of her daughter and the allegations surrounding her son-in-law.
“He walked around for hours with me searching for my daughter, knowing that she was dead,” Barney said, the Anchorage Daily News reported. “He lied to me multiple times and tried to play it off like he was a concerned husband.”
Family posted missing flyers in University Lake Park, where Saria Hildabrand would often take her dog. (Dev Hardikar/Alaska Public Media)
They were newlyweds, both military. She moved from Utah to live with him earlier this year to Alaska, where he was stationed. She planned to enroll in college in the fall and dreamed of a career in medicine.
During the course of the investigation, Zarrius was evasive and inconsistent in his story. It later came out that a nearby resident of the couple told police he heard a gunshot at about 2:45 a.m. Sunday. Investigators obtained a search warrant for the Hildabrand’s apartment and discovered a crime scene on Wednesday, Alaska Public Media reported.
“They described the mattress as being saturated by human blood,” said the charging document. “There was so much blood on the mattress that the blood soaked through onto the carpet and into the wood frame.”
Traces of blood were also located in the bathroom, floors and bathtub, according to investigators. Police found two handguns in the residence, one of which “was missing one bullet out of the magazine.”
Bail for Zarrius was set at $500,000, Fox News reported.