Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Unsolved Idaho triple homicide linked to Utah suspects
First Published Apr 13 2014 12:49 pm • Last Updated Apr 13 2014 12:47 pm

Pocatello, Idaho • Oneida County Sheriff Jeff Semrad was in Colorado about a year ago when he received the darkest phone call of his 31-year career in law enforcement. Three people had been found murdered in a remote farmhouse near the tiny community of Holbrook.

One of Semrad’s deputies shared the shocking news on Friday, April 5, 2013.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The bodies of Brent L. Christensen, 62, his son Trent Jon Christensen, 32, and Trent’s girlfriend, Yavette Chivon Carter, 27, were found in the home of the Christensen ranch about 25 miles west of Malad City. An infant girl was in Carter’s arms and another 2-year-old girl was in the home with the bodies. Both children were unharmed and authorities think they had been in the home with the gunshot victims for at least 12 hours.

"I thought this really couldn’t happen," Semrad said about his initial reaction to that long-distance call. "Then I thought, I need help."

Semrad said he immediately made calls to Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen, Idaho State Police, Bingham County Detective Lt. Paul Newbold and the Blackfoot Police Department.

"Within 20 minutes help was on the way, including the Idaho State Police mobile lab," Semrad recalled. "It was very humbling to me."

Eventually the investigation would include the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and law enforcement agencies in Utah.

After checking his logs on the case last week, Semrad said he estimates about 10,000 man-hours have gone into the investigation this past year.

"There’s not a day goes by that we’re not working on it," the sheriff told the Idaho State Journal (http://bit.ly/1n4yOgL). "We actually have a motive now."

And Semrad said there are suspects — dangerous ones now living in Utah — with connections to major gang activities in California.


story continues below
story continues below

Detectives made a trip to California to chase leads just this month.

"These are hardcore people," Newbold said. "They absolutely knew where they were going and what they were going to do."

Lt. Newbold has been the lead investigator because he has handled other multiple homicides during his career. He said the Oneida triple-homicide has been a tough one.

"In this particular case we’re out in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors or witnesses," Newbold said. "If a normal murder case has 500 pieces to the puzzle, this one had 5,000 pieces. I think it’s going to come together."

Investigators quickly determined that the remote crime scene had been a hub of illegal dogfighting and drug use. Officers discovered more than 60 pit bull terriers in makeshift pens on the property and a marijuana growing operation in the basement of the residence.

The animals were transported to Boise and given shelter by the Idaho Humane Society. Experts there examined the dogs and eventually a large number of them were adopted by families. Last week 19 of the local adoptive families and their dogs held a reunion at the Idaho Humane Society complex in Boise, according to Human Society communications and outreach coordinator, Hannah Parpart.

The surviving children of Yavette Carter have been living with family members. The oldest girl celebrated her third birthday last week, according to Semrad.

"That’s who we’re working for, those two little girls," Semrad said.

More than 200 pieces of evidence have been sent to the FBI lab for analysis and investigators work the case every week, according to Newbold. When detectives are working the case, he said they put in 12 to 14 hour days.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.