WESTMINSTER, Calif. - A Huntington Beach man was arrested after the bodies of two women were found in Newport Beach following a house fire in Westminster, according to officials.
The Orange County Fire Authority responded to a house fire in the 5000 block of Northwestern Way in Westminster at about 5:30 a.m. on Sunday.
After firefighters extinguished the blaze, detectives said they began investigating suspicious evidence surrounding the fire, which they believed was an act of arson.
Officials said the homeowner, 59-year-old Yolanda Holtrey, and her 49-year-old female friend from Huntington Beach couldn't be located.
The bodies of Holtrey and her friend were later discovered in a grassy field near the intersection of Ford Road and Bonita Canyon Drive in Newport Beach on Monday, according to police.
"Evidence at the scene, video evidence and information that we received, we suspect that there was foul play involving Yolanda and her friend," Timothy Vu, deputy chief of the Westminster Police Department said.
Holtrey's friend hasn't been identified by officials, pending notification of her family.
"We thought maybe it was the heater because it was cold, but then later on we learned that something happened to her and we were really shocked," neighbor Thuy Tran said.
Authorities said 37-year-old Christopher Ireland was arrested for the murders of Holtrey and her friend. He was being held without bail.
While the motive was still under investigation, police said they didn't believe there were other suspects at large.
"Ireland and his wife were acquaintances of Yolanda and they had been at the residence the night before for a New Year's Eve celebration," Vu explained.
Anyone with information that could aid authorities in their investigation was urged to call Det. Wilson with Westminster Police Department Homicide at (714) 898-3315.
Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous may contact Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-847-6227.