By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Two men were charged on Tuesday in the triple murder of a Southern California couple and their friend in what local media reported may have been a crime among the so-called “furry” community of people who dress up in animal costumes.
Joshua Acosta, 21, and Frank Felix, 25, were each charged with three counts of murder, Orange County prosecutors said. Acosta and Felix did not enter pleas during a brief court appearance in Santa Ana, California.
The two suspects are accused of killing Jennifer Goodwill-Yost, 39, her husband Christopher Yost, 34, and their friend Arthur “Billy” Boucher, 28, at the couple’s home in Fullerton, 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Los Angeles, early on Saturday.
Bodies of the victims were discovered there after a child called police to say her parents had died, Fullerton police said in a statement.
Two young children were left unharmed in the home but police initially said that Goodwill-Yost’s 17-year-old daughter, Katlynn Goodwill-Yost, had gone missing.
Following the arrests of Acosta, a U.S. Army private based in Texas, and Felix, of Los Angeles, police said that Katlynn Goodwill-Yost had been found safe and that an unnamed 17-year-old girl had been taken into custody in connection with the crime.
Authorities declined to say if Katlynn Goodwill-Yost was the third suspect arrested, saying state law barred disclosure of such information about juveniles. The teen was not charged in the case on Tuesday.
Prosecutors declined to discuss what they believe motivated the killings.
The Orange County Register newspaper reported that Jennifer Goodwill-Yost, her daughter and the suspects all had ties to the Southern California “furry” community.
“A lot of people in our community were devastated,” Christopher Parque-Johnson, 23, told the paper. “I’ve been hearing from a lot of people. It bothered everybody.”
The Register said Parque-Johnson, a member of the SoCalFurs, led a group of furries in placing flowers, cards and candles outside the home. Katlynn Goodwill-Yost’s social media pages are replete with pictures of her dressed in animal costumes.
“The suspects and the family are known to one another,” Fullerton police spokesman Sergeant Jon Radus told a press conference. “This was not a random act of violence … We do believe this was a specific home that was targeted by these suspects.”
Winter Thomas, a friend of the victims, told local KNBC-TV that there had been disagreement between Jennifer Goodwill-Yost and Felix because she did not want him dating her teenage daughter.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Andrew Hay and Sandra Maler)