published : 2023-08-22

Alaskan Soldier Court Appearance For Alleged Murder of Wife

Deceased wife found in storm drain with gunshot wound to the head, mattress 'saturated' in blood

An image of the Anchorage courthouse set against an overcast sky, symbolizing the gravity of the legal proceedings that are to occur. (Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

A courtroom drama is set to unfold in Alaska, with a U.S. Army soldier, Zarrius Ray Hildabrand, making an appearance this Thursday. Accused of a grave charge—murdering his wife, Saria Hildabrand, after his 21st birthday celebration—Hildabrand faces justice.

The aftermath of the incident presents a chilling scene. Saria's body, discovered within a storm drain in Anchorage, appeared to carry the fatal mark of a gunshot wound to her head. Disturbingly, a mattress drenched in blood was discovered within their home.

The narrative began unraveling when Hildabrand initially reported his wife missing on August 7th. His arrest soon followed the discovery of his wife's body. Sheriff records further detail a $500,000 bail set for Hildabrand during a hearing on August 11th.

A close-up shot of a military badge or insignia representing the U.S. Army, resonating with the story of Zarrius Ray Hildabrand's military background. (Taken with Sony Alpha 7R IV)

In an intriguing twist, shortly after Hildabrand claimed his wife went missing, text messages were received from her phone. Recipients included coworkers who were informed that she would not be reporting to work—a detail that contradicted Hildabrand's statement that his wife left home to walk to work.

Investigators, delving deeper, revealed that Hildabrand made three shopping trips the same day his wife was reported missing. The items he purchased were unusual—bed sheets, a mattress cover, and notably, hydrogen peroxide—a common cleaning agent used to remove blood stains.

Authorities, upon a second search of the couple’s home, discovered the blood 'saturated' mattress. In yet another grim twist, human remains, identified as belonging to the missing Saria Hildabrand, were found within a storm drain. A pillow, seemingly concealing her body, exhibited visible evidence of a gunshot wound to the head.

A tasteful black and white portrait of a seemingly distressed woman, symbolizing Saria Hildabrand and the tragic, young life lost. (Taken with Nikon D850)

This shocking death has left the community, particularly Saria's family, in mourning. Her mother shares her daughter was kind, intelligent and funny. Saria's commitment to her future can be seen in her choice to join the National Guard to fund her medical education.

Meanwhile, Hildabrand’s military background traces back to his enlistment in the U.S. Army in 2021. His posting in Alaska came in 2022 with the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 11th Airborne Division at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Hailing from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, he now faces the most profound charge—murder of his own wife.

Even as this tragic situation continues to unfold, there are no easy answers. One thing, however, is certain – a young life has been lost under horrifying circumstances, offering a grim reminder of how quickly joy can transform into tragedy.