CALDWELL - Investigators are searching for answers after three people were found dead outside a home in Caldwell Monday.
The deaths are being treated as homicides, although no suspects have been identified.
Canyon County Chief Deputy Marv Dashiell said deputies were dispatched to the house near the intersection of KCID Road and Highway 20/26 at about 11 a.m. after an out-of-state family member asked them to check on the residents of the home. The family member told deputies they had not heard from their relatives in some time, and were getting worried.
"As the officers got on scene, they started checking the property and started detecting some things that just basically didn't look right," Dashiell said.
All three victims were found outside the house "in an adjacent location on the property," and had been partially covered, he said. The bodies had begun to decompose, making it impossible to tell the victims' genders or identities.
A sheriff's office spokesman later said the bodies appeared to have been hidden or concealed intentionally, and were not out in the open.
Dashiell estimated the bodies had been on the property more than three days. It is too early to tell whether the trio are the residents of the house where they were found, he added.
Next-door neighbor David Tutwiler said the residents, a family from Utah, had bought the house and moved in about a month-and-a-half before the discovery of the bodies. He described his neighbors as a man and woman in their late 40's or 50's, and a younger woman who may have been a teenager or young adult.
Tutwiler said he had noticed something unusual about the three as soon as they moved in.
"They pulled a trailer up right away as soon as they took possession of the property, and it appeared they were living in the trailer rather than the house, so I thought that was kind of strange," he said.
Records show the home was transferred to the new owners May 3.
The neighbor said the residents kept to themselves, and he had not yet had a chance to introduce himself. Tutwiler, who moved to Idaho from California five years ago in search of a safer place to raise his daughters, called it "sobering" to realize an something like this could happen so close to home.
"You think you're more than arm's length from the violence, but it hit home right next door today," he said.
"This is something that's uncommon for Canyon County - it's uncommon for the Valley, especially to come in and not have any identification," he said.
Investigators worked until dark, and returned early Tuesday to continue scouring the property for additional clues about what may have happened to the victims. The bodies have been removed from the property, and autopsies began Tuesday morning, according to the sheriff's office.
The coroner will work with dental records and any other available records to try and identify the three people. Dashiell said there were no easily visible signs of "overt trauma," and the cause of death has not yet been determined for any of the three.
Still, early evidence is pointing toward homicide, he said.
"The fact that we have three dead bodies right next to each other is pretty much gearing us toward that," he said.
No animals or pets were found on the property, although neighbors said the residents appeared to have been raising chickens for meat.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Canyon County Sheriff's Office at 208-454-7531.
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