Two suspects arrested in the slayings of four O.C. women

Two men have been arrested in connection with the slayings of at least four women in Orange County, including one whose body was found at an Anaheim trash center and three others who disappeared from Santa Ana.

Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, who were described as transients, were arrested on East La Palma Avenue about an hour apart Friday evening, Anaheim police Lt. Bob Dunn said.

Dunn said the two men were being booked on suspicion of murder in the deaths of Kianna Jackson, 20; Monique Vargas, 34; Martha Anaya, 28; and Jarrae Estepp, 21. Jackson, Vargas and Anaya were last seen in Santa Ana in October and November of last year; Estepp’s naked body was found at the Anaheim trash center March 14.

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Estepp’s mother told The Times on Saturday night that she could finally breathe after police told her that there had been an arrest in her daughter’s death.

“I was absolutely relieved,” Jodi Estepp said. “Now I want to know why. Why did they choose these women?”

Dunn said detectives in Santa Ana and Anaheim launched a joint investigation after Estepp’s body was found, leading to the identification and arrests of Cano and Gordon. Though no other suspects were thought to be involved, Dunn said detectives were continuing to look for more potential victims across the country.

“There is a possibility there are more victims, and we are and have been working with many jurisdictions throughout California as well as the rest of the United States,” Dunn said. “We need to make sure that our net is wide so we can see if there are any other missing persons that might have ended up in California.”


The Santa Ana women had frequented neighborhoods known for drug dealing and prostitution. Outreach workers with an Oklahoma nonprofit said they had frequent contact with Estepp in Oklahoma City in 2012, when she was featured in several videos of street life posted on YouTube and elsewhere.

Dunn said investigators were continuing to look into the women’s backgrounds.

A news conference about the arrests is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday.


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