The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a triple homicide at a western Oneida County pit bull breeding ranch where dog fighting and marijuana growing were taking place.
Investigators on scene found evidence that not only were pit bulls being bred, they found an arena where the dogs were being fought. They also found an intricate water and lighting system to grow 38 marijuana plants, valued at an estimated $95,000.
While they are not ruling out these illegal activities, they are also not saying the murders were because of them.
"How that's all going to come together we don't really know yet," said Oneida County Sheriff Jeff Semrad. "You could say it might be drug related, it might be dog fighting related, it may not have anything to do with either one or it may have something to do with both of them."
The breeding ranch is about 20 miles west of Malad in Holbrook, located on 19,000 West, right off of Highway 38.
Deputies say it happened Thursday afternoon or evening. They also say three bodies were found inside the home Friday afternoon. They released information on the murder Saturday.
The bodies of 61-year-old Brent L. Christensen, 32-year-old Trent Jon Christensen and 27-year-old Yavette Chivon Carter were all found inside the home. Police say they were shot to death.
Deputies say Trent Chistensen's and Carter's two young children were at the scene. Their 2-year-old girl was on the steps outside, and their and 2-month-old girl was found safe under Carter's arm as she was protecting her.
Deputies also found about 50 to 70 pit bull dogs and puppies and about 38 marijuana plants worth $95,000 in the basement of the home.
Investigators say evidence shows that this was not a random murder and the public is not in immediate danger.
"This is a very peaceful part of our county," Sheriff Semrad said. "These people are like family whether they're related or not. They help each other out. We don't have a lot of problems out here."
The sheriff’s office is asking anyone that may have attended the Easter party at the residence on Sunday, March 31, to contact the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office at 208-766-2251.
The sheriff’s office is also looking for a driver of a red semitrailer. They earlier had been looking for the driver of a blue semitrailer, but that driver has contacted authorities. Both had been seen at the residence this past week and neither was pulling a trailer. The semitrailer drivers are not suspects but may have information that would be helpful to the investigation.
Deputies said the dogs are still on the property and food has been donated to help feed them. They're asking the owners of the dogs to pick them up.