WESTMINSTER (CBSLA.com) — Police on Monday arrested a Huntington Beach man accused of killing two women and setting fire to the house of one of the victims in Westminster.
Flames tore through a house in the 5000 block of Northwestern Way around 5:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day after a party was held there.
The homeowner, Yolanda Holtrey, 59, was not home at the time of the fire, according to Westminster police.
The next morning, her body and her 49-year-old co-worker’s body were found in a field near a mall in Newport Beach, police said.
The friend’s identity has not been released.
The suspect, Christopher Ireland, was being held without bail and scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.
Neighbors told CBS2’s Stacey Butler that Ireland’s wife and the victims were friends. All three worked at Stein Mart.
“I think it’s a tragedy. I just think it’s a sad, sad situation all the way around. I feel sorry for the family,” said neighbor Jeri Kriha.
Butler tried to speak to the suspect’s wife at their Huntington Beach home, but no one came to the door.
The motives for the fire and the murders are under investigation.