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Man arrested in deaths of 2 women whose bodies were found in Newport Beach after home fire

A man was arrested Monday in connection with the deaths of a woman and her friend after a house fire in Westminster led authorities to their bodies, which were found miles away.

Christopher Ireland, 37, of Huntington Beach was taken into custody on suspicion of murder, according to the Westminster Police Department. According to police, Ireland and the victims were acquaintances.

“This crime appears to be an isolated incident and we do not believe any other suspects are outstanding,” Commander Cameron Knauerhaze said in a statement. “The motive for the crime is still under investigation.”

The investigation began to unfold about 5:30 a.m. Sunday, when firefighters were called to a home in the 5000 block of Northwestern Way in Westminster, police said.

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When authorities arrived, the homeowner, Yolanda Holtrey, and her friend were nowhere to be found.

“Due to the suspicious circumstances surrounding the fire, an arson investigator responded along with detectives from [Westminster Police Department],” police said in a statement.

As detectives began digging into the women’s disappearance, they uncovered information that led them to their bodies on Tuesday.

Holtrey, 59, and her friend, a 49-year-old Huntington Beach woman who has not been identified, were found on a road off Bonita Canyon Drive and Ford Road in Newport Beach, KTLA-TV reported.

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Evidence found at Holtrey’s home led investigators to Ireland, the television news station reported.

Ireland is a Realtor, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Department booking records.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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