GARDEN GROVE : Brother Held in Teacher's Death

The 21-year-old brother of a popular Garden Grove student teacher was arrested on suspicion of killing her and setting fire to the family home, police said Monday.

Callen Anthony Chase was being held in the Orange County Jail in Santa Ana in connection with the Thanksgiving Day killing of his sister, Claudia Chase, 28. He was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Garden Grove and Anaheim officers arrested Chase about 9:40 p.m. Sunday at the Amtrak station in Anaheim.

"There was no indication he had gone anywhere or was going somewhere. He was just there," Garden Grove Police Lt. Chuck Gibbs said. He added that no other suspects are being sought in the case.

Both Callen and Claudia Chase, a student teacher at her alma mater, Pacifica High School, lived with their mother in a two-story house in the 6300 block of Cerulean Avenue in the Garden Park Estates area.

While no clear motive was established for the killing, Gibbs said Monday, "There was friction between the victim and suspect in the recent past."

The woman's burned body was found in the blazing living room of the home by arriving firefighters about 3:50 p.m. Thursday. Neighbors said they heard the sirens of the fire trucks just as they sat down to Thanksgiving dinner.

Gibbs said that in addition to severe burns, the victim had a severe head injury. It was determined that she was either dead or unconscious when the fire was set near her body in the living room. The fire was quickly halted, but much of the house was damaged by smoke.

Neither Callen Chase or Claudia Chase's car could be located immediately after the fire despite police broadcasts countywide. Gibbs said Garden Grove detectives "developed information" leading to Callen Chase's whereabouts, but said he could not be more specific.

Police still are seeking Claudia Chase's car. Gibbs said that anyone who finds the beige or brown 1979 Honda Civic with a license plate 018YIH is asked to call Garden Grove police at (714) 741-5704.

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