ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The FBI has joined the investigation into the disappearance two weeks ago of a family of four from a city on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula.
The Kenai Police Department requested the assistance of federal investigators in the disappearance of Brandon Jividen, 37, Rebecca Adams, 22, and Adams' two daughters, Michelle Hundley, 5, and Jaracca Hundley, 3.
The family was last seen May 27, the day after Memorial Day. Their two vehicles remained at their apartment in Kenai, 65 miles southwest of Anchorage, and they apparently left without packing, relatives have said.
The family's apartment building is on a quiet street near a wooded area in the city of 7,100 at the mouth of the Kenai River, Alaska's most popular sport fishing venue. The blue-collar town is home to workers employed by the oil and natural gas industry in Cook Inlet.
The age of the missing children, defined as "children of tender years," gives the FBI jurisdiction to provide assistance in the case, agency spokesman Steve Forrest said. "There's a presumption in the law that allows the FBI to be involved if you have a child under the age of 12 missing," he said. "It can be viewed as a stranger abduction until it's proved otherwise. I'm not saying that's what we have here, but that's what allows us to get involved early on."
He would not say how many agents are in Kenai but noted they will focus on what might have happened rather than the ongoing search. "The search and rescue — that's not where our expertise is," Forrest said. "It would be in the investigative portions of the case."
Jividen is Rebecca Adams' boyfriend. The father of her two girls, Jaramiah Hundley, died in a motorcycle crash on May 30, 2012. Rebecca Adams' sister, Lanell Adams of Washington state, told the Peninsula Clarion that she last spoke to Rebecca Adams on Memorial Day weekend. Rebecca Adams sounded as if she were in distress but would not say what was wrong, the sister said.
Relatives later requested that police check on the family. When they could not be found, Lanell Adams flew to Kenai. The four people and their dog were gone. Besides the vehicles, camping gear and the children's car seats were still at the home. The rent was not paid on the first of the month.
Kenai Police Chief Gus Sandahl said at a news conference Monday the search is the department's highest priority, the Peninsula Clarion reported. He said he remains optimistic that the family will be found.
Information from: KTUU-TV, http://www.ktuu.com