SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A U.S. soldier charged with the murder of his wife from Utah will appear in Alaska court Thursday for a pre-indictment hearing.
Zarrius Ray Hildabrand, 21, was arrested on two counts of murder, and one count of tampering with evidence after his wife’s body was found in a storm drain in Anchorage, Alaska.
Hildabrand will appear in the Anchorage courthouse for a pre-indictment hearing at 4:30 p.m. At the hearing, the judge will listen to the defense and prosecution, before officially charging him. It is unclear whether he will be charged in state court, federal court, or the U.S. Army’s court system.
Hildabrand is accused of killing his wife on Aug. 6 after a night out celebrating his 21st birthday, according to a complaint via AP News. They reported Hildabrand told officials he and his wife were out partying on Aug. 5 and got home early morning on Aug. 6.
According to the complaint, Hildabrand said they were both hungover, and his wife walked to work that morning about a mile away. He said she didn’t take her phone with her.
Coworkers of Saria Hildabrand told investigators she didn’t show up for work, and they received text messages from her phone stating she was not coming to work. This was approximately 45 minutes after Hildabrand said his wife left for work.
Hildabrand told officials he waited to contact police because “he thought he might find his wife, and find it was a misunderstanding.” He also denied sending his wife’s coworkers a text and “couldn’t explain how that happened,” the complaint states.
Authorities had also responded to a disturbance complaint in the area of a possible gunshot early in the morning on Aug. 6, but patrol officers found nothing suspicious, the complaint states.
On Aug. 6, after his wife went missing, Hildabrand allegedly took three separate trips to the store buying items including bed sheets, a mattress cover, hydrogen peroxide, a spray bottle, marinara sauce, and a trash can, investigators report.
According to the complaint, Hildabrand allowed police to look around the couple’s home but refused to let them look under the bed, as there were “embarrassing” items stored there.
Police later found the mattress “saturated” by blood, the complaint states.
On Aug. 10, authorities found what appeared to be a pillow inside a storm drain near their home, when the pillow was lifted up, the remains of Saria Hildabrand were uncovered. She appeared to have a gunshot wound to her head, the complaint states.
Prior to her death, Saria Hildabrand had been a member of the Alaska Army National Guard since April and had previously served in the Utah Army National Guard. Her mother, Meredith Barney said Saria joined the Guard to help pay for an education in the medical field.
“She was such a hard worker really driven. She was a really great big sister. She really cared about people. She was smart and ready to move forward, looking toward her future,” Barney said in a telephone interview with AP News.
Barney said Saria Hildabrand’s funeral was planned for Aug. 25 in Mount Pleasant, Utah. The military will also reportedly perform a color guard ceremony when her body is flown.
According to the Army, Zarrius Ray Hildabrand joined the U.S. in Sept. 2021 and was assigned to Alaska in March 2022 in the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He is reportedly from Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
The Associated Press has contributed to this story.