Rachel Konrad, Associated Press
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- The father of two slain children remained
missing Friday, and police believed he was in Santa Cruz County,
possibly near the tiny coastal community of Davenport.
Authorities briefly closed coastal Highway 1 near Davenport on Friday
morning, after they found the 1987 Ford Taurus of Jose Jesus
Zacarias. The 38-year-old Santa Clara resident, last seen Thursday
afternoon, was the stay-at-home caregiver for his children,
3-year-old Nicholas and 9-year-old Harmony.
Kim Zacarias found her children around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, dead in
their beds. A detective described the blood-spattered scene as
"gruesome" and "brutal."
Police said Nicholas was Zacarias' son, and Harmony was his stepdaughter.
Authorities searched for clues near the coast and in Santa Clara.
California Highway Patrol dispatched a helicopter late Friday morning
to search the shrub-covered mountains and rugged cliffs near the
"No one has found a body," said Kim Allyn, public information officer
for the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office. "It's quite normal or
routine for people to go to the coast and kill themselves or jump off
a cliff, but we haven't found anything."
Santa Clara police have not named Zacarias as a suspect, but Sgt.
Steve Bauer called him a "person of interest" in the killings.
Witnesses reported seeing Zacarias with the boy earlier in the day.
"We're looking to speak to the stepdad who was taking care of the
children," Bauer said Thursday night. "He was seen with the younger
child at about 12:30 p.m."
The children appeared to have been strangled, Bauer said. Another
police spokesman, Det. Jerry Rodriguez, later described the
children's deaths only as "unnatural" but declined to comment on
whether any weapons were found at the scene.
Zacarias was believed to have connections in Mexico, north of Santa
Rosa and in San Diego County.
"He's at the top on our list because he was the last one seen with
the children," Rodriguez said.
A bungalow-style home with white awnings and neatly manicured hedges
connected to the front of the two-story building where the family
lived. The building _ as well as houses on either side of it _ were
cordoned off well into the night as investigators worked behind the
cover of a large white sheet hung over the entrance.
A small memorial was hastily erected Thursday night in front of a
nearby house on Harvard Avenue with carnations, a pink teddy bear
with a rosary, a ceramic angel and candles. Neighbors on the well
maintained, middle-class street paced on front porches and in
driveways as lights and cameras from television crews cast a bright
Hunter Kuncaitis, 15, and his brother Jerry, 18, rode their bikes
from down the block to watch from behind crime scene tape as the
investigation unfolded late Thursday.
"This is a big novelty for our neighborhood. I'm sure if this were in
New York or Washington it wouldn't be a big deal. But it's a really
big deal here," Jeffrey Kuncaitis said.
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Anyone with information about Zacarias' whereabouts was asked to call
the Santa Clara Police Department.