Two suspects were behind bars Thursday in what police said was an intentionally set mobile home fire in Santa Ana that left a man and a woman dead.
Jason Blanchard, who was being held without bail, was charged Wednesday with two counts of murder with special-circumstance allegations of multiple victims and a felony count of arson and possession of a firearm by a felon. Blanchard also faces sentencing enhancements for the discharge of a firearm causing death. He did not enter a plea Wednesday at his arraignment, which was rescheduled for July 15.
The other suspect was arrested Wednesday in Apple Valley at approximately 1 p.m. Wednesday. Santa Ana police Sgt. Maria Lopez said investigators did not wish to release his name at this time and were still working to determine what connection he may have had with the deaths.
The victims were identified as 30-year-old Steven Christian and 33-year-old Jillian Alise, Lopez said. The two were dating, she added.
Crews responded to the fire at 10:14 p.m. Friday to a mobile home park in the 5000 block of McFadden Avenue, between Euclid and Newhope streets, and knocked down the flames in about 30 minutes, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Greg Bradshaw said.
During an initial search of the site, the body of a male victim was found, according to fire and police officials.
According to Santa Ana police, an investigation into the fire determined that the blaze had been intentionally set. On Tuesday, investigators returned to the home to conduct a follow-up search of the site, and the body of a female victim was found under the debris, police said.
Anyone with information about the fire was asked to call detectives at 714-245-8390, or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS (847-6227).