ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska man shot and killed his girlfriend, her two young daughters and the family dog in 2014 before turning a gun on himself in the woods near the family's home, authorities said Wednesday.
The determination came a year after the family disappeared in Kenai, a fishing community southwest of Anchorage, prompting a massive search.
The bodies were finally found on March 21 when a person spotted human remains while driving a vehicle on a trail through wooded land less than a half-mile from the family home.
Investigators with Kenai police, the FBI and medical examiner concluded that Brandon Jividen, 38, killed Rebecca Adams, 23, Michelle Hundley, 6, and Jaracca Hundley, 3, in late May 2014.
A motive for the shooting was not determined, police said in a prepared statement.
"For us to say exactly what happened would only be speculative at this time," the statement said.
The bodies of Adams and her two girls were found together. Jividen's body and the remains of the family dog, Sparks, an English springer spaniel, were found 13 feet away.
Investigators found five spent shell casings at the scene and two guns/">handguns close to Jividen's body. Both guns had been purchased by Jividen, and investigators found holsters for both firearms on his remains.
Police also recovered bullets, confirming the location to be the crime scene.
The family lived in a duplex on a quiet street on the outskirts of Kenai.
After the disappearance, relatives said the family appeared to have left without packing. Their two vehicles were parked outside and their rent for June had not been paid.
Authorities conducted the search using airplanes, helicopters and dogs. It covered a wide area around the family's home, and divers at one point searched a pond. Twenty agencies participated.
Much of the search focused on land northeast of the family home where Jividen, a hunter and outdoorsman, had spent time.
The bodies were found less than a half-mile northwest of the family's home and about 15 yards from a trail used mostly by four-wheelers and snowmobiles. The remains were in a slight depression amid grass and bushes.
"If you were standing on the trail, you probably would not have seen them with the foliage the way it was," Lt. Dave Ross said in March.
Police also said then that the serial number on a gun found near Jividen matched the serial number of a gun box found in the family home.
Jaramiah Hundley, the father of Adams' two girls, died in a 2012 motorcycle crash.