It’s day two of the search for evidence and answers in Hubbard after a family’s home burned up with one body found inside.
The property is the home of Keith and Erin Kroeker and their three young children. The one body found at the scene has not yet been identified, and the family is still officially considered missing.
Family and friends are fearing the worst. Arvid Freiberg said Christmas Eve was the last time he saw his step-daughter, Erin, and the family.
“Christmas, Christmas Eve. They had the funniest way of doing their Christmas,” he said. “I really enjoyed it.”
Freiberg said the family spent the holiday together in Hubbard, where their home is now the scene of a fire investigation with all signs pointing to arson.
Firefighters responded to massive flames early Tuesday morning in the house, barn and detached garage.
Rescuers found the one body, but they had to wait until the rubble cooled to search further. Nearly 40 investigators began scouring the scene Wednesday, looking for more evidence.
For Woodburn School District superintendent Chuck Ransom, waiting for answers is heartbreaking. All of the Kroeker kids attend Lincoln Elementary School, where staff members can only listen and be supportive right now.
“The family is a long time family with the district, so they’re very close to us, and we’re very concerned,” ransom said. “We’re waiting like everybody is to hear more details, but we’re expecting the news won’t be good, so we’re trying to help people anticipate that. So we expect this to go on for several days, so we’ll have resources for family and staff for the coming days we think.”
Keith’s mother Jackie also spoke to FOX 12 Wednesday. She didn’t want to go on-camera but said her son’s family is an all-American Christian family with good values and are loved by everyone.
The Kroekers go to the Mid-Valley Community Church, where Keith serves on the elder board. The family’s fellow parishioners prayed for them there Tuesday night.
Throughout the community family and friends are simply in shock, waiting for an explanation, while Freiberg waits and shares memories of happier times.
“Erin admired something in a store that she wanted, but she didn’t get it. So my wife bought it and gave it to them for Christmas, and I got a series of pictures of them opening that package,” he recalled. “They were happy. They were happy.”
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