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Man charged with murder of 2 women after New Year’s party

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    This undated booking photo provided by the Westminster Police Department shows Christopher Ken Ireland. Ireland of Huntington Beach, was booked Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, on two counts of suspicion of murder in the deaths of 59-year-old Yolanda Holtrey and her 49-year-old friend, a woman whose name wasn’t immediately made public pending notification of her family.

SANTA ANA, Calif. >> An Orange County man was charged Wednesday with killing two women after a New Year’s Eve party and disfiguring one of the victims before setting fire to a home.

Christopher Ireland, 37, was charged with multiple murders, arson and aggravated mayhem. He remained jailed without bail after his scheduled arraignment was postponed to Jan. 20.

The Huntington Beach man is charged with killing Yolanda Holtrey, 59, and her friend Michelle Luke, 49, after attending a New Year’s Eve party at Holtrey’s Westminster home.

One of the women had the right side of her head disfigured, authorities said.

Ireland is believed to have moved the bodies before setting the house on fire in order to cover up the killings, prosecutors said. Firefighters who quickly doused the blaze found no sign of the homeowner. The bodies of the two women were found Monday morning in a field in Newport Beach.

However, authorities did not immediately release details of the deaths or a motive for the crime.

The women both worked with Ireland’s wife at a department store, friends and relatives said.

Samantha Ireland told KNBC-TV that she and her husband, a real estate agent, had a good time at the party before returning home around 1:30 a.m. Sunday and going to sleep.

“I don’t remember him leaving the house in the middle of the night; he doesn’t remember anything,” she said, adding that her husband may have been sleepwalking.

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