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Soldier accused of killing combat medic wife he reported missing in Alaska

A 21-year-old soldier has been arrested and accused of killing his wife, who belonged to the National Guard, Alaska authorities said. Army Spc. Zarrius Hildabrand had reported to police last Monday that his wife, 21-year-old Spc. Saria Hildabrand, was missing.

Her remains were recovered from a drain pipe on Thursday, according to court documents. She'd suffered an apparent gunshot wound to her left temple. Police announced Hildabrand's arrest on Friday.

Hildabrand had told police the couple were out partying together with friends on Aug. 5, according to court documents. Hildabrand said they'd gone to Dave & Busters and a bar to celebrate his birthday. He told police they got home around 2 a.m. the next day. He said they were both hungover when they woke up, but his wife needed to go to work at Bread & Brew, a sandwich shop. Hildabrand said she walked to work because neither of them felt good enough to drive.

He claimed that his wife took her purse and wallet, but forgot her cellphone at home. Hildabrand told police he didn't realize she was missing until 7 that night when he went to Bread & Brew to pick her up and found out she'd never made it to work. He told officers "he had been searching for Saria ever since." Hildabrand told police he'd been to friends' houses and contacted his wife's parents along with the local jail and hospitals. Hildabrand said he drove all over the neighborhood before he decided to contact police last Monday night.

He told police he waited until then to file a missing person report "because he thought he might find his wife and find it was a misunderstanding," according to court documents. 

During the search, Hildabrand showed police the route his wife walked to work. Police and dozens of volunteers searched the route with no success.

Hildabrand let police look around his home on Tuesday. Detectives noticed there was no sheet on the bed, which was only covered by a mattress pad. There was a new set of sheets, still in the package, on the kitchen table. Hildabrand told officers his wife had bought the new sheets and told officers there was a sheet on the bed. He lifted the mattress pad slightly and showed a fitted sheet under the pad. Officers asked Hildabrand if they could look under the sheets and lift the mattress pad.

"He said we couldn't search under the bed because there was 'embarrassing' items underneath," an officer wrote in court documents. "He finally told us it was stuff used for sex. We asked him if he would move those items while we looked away, and again he said we couldn't look under the bed."

The following day, police returned with a search warrant. The crime scene team lifted the mattress pad. 

"They described the mattress as being saturated by human blood," the officer wrote in the documents.

They also recovered two handguns. Hildabrand had told investigators he only had one gun.

Police uncovered several other inconsistencies during the investigation, court documents show. Though Hildabrand initially said he'd stayed home all day on Aug. 6 until going out to pick up his wife, he later said he'd gone out to do errands that day. He'd also said his wife left her cellphone at home on the day she went missing, but it was used around 10:45 a.m. that day to send a text. Hildabrand had told officers his wife left for work around 10 a.m. The text went to Bread & Brew. Workers there said Saria Hildabrand used the text to say she was calling out.

"Bread & Brew has lost a part of us," the eatery said on Sunday.

Saria Hildabrand was also remembered by the National Guard, which she'd joined in April. She was assigned to Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment as a combat medic. She'd previously served in the Utah Army National Guard. 

"Spc. Hildabrand took an oath to selflessly serve and defend not only the state of Alaska, but the entire nation, a commitment worthy of admiration and respect," a National Guard spokesperson said. "Her untimely passing impacts everyone on the Alaska National Guard team. She will be sorely missed."

Her husband, who has been charged with murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree and tampering with evidence, is a cannon crewmember assigned to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 11th Airborne Division at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, an Army official said. He joined the Army in September 2021 and arrived in Alaska in April 2022.

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