Image: Burned home
Ron Siddle  /  Valley Press via AP
Four bodies were found inside this burned out home, seen here Tuesday, in Lancaster, Calif.
updated 9/10/2008 11:58:09 AM ET 2008-09-10T15:58:09

An 18-year-old man was arrested for investigation of four counts of murder Wednesday in the killings of a woman and three girls found slain in a burning house, authorities said.

Corey King of Altadena was in custody on $1 million bail, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Aura Sierra said.

Authorities called King an associate or friend of the victims when he was brought in for questioning Tuesday.

The four bodies were discovered in different rooms by county firefighters summoned to a house fire earlier Tuesday.

The victims showed signs of significant "visible trauma" not associated with the fire, sheriff's Lt. Patrick Nelson said. He declined to elaborate.

Detectives had begun questioning King on Tuesday night. He had called police after hearing his name mentioned on the television news as a person of interest, Nelson told the Los Angeles Times.

'Sweet little girls'
Just one of the bodies has been positively identified, coroner's investigators said Wednesday. The other three were severely burned and could take days to identify. None of the victims' names were released.

Image: Woman consoled at fire scene
Ron Siddle  /  Valley Press via AP
A woman is consoled Tuesday outside the home where four bodies were found.
"They were sweet little girls," neighbor Margaret Lett told the Antelope Valley Press.

Nelson said the woman's car with one window smashed was found in the parking lot of a nearby Wal-Mart store.

Investigators believe the parking lot is a secondary crime scene connected with the homicides, Nelson said.

Lancaster is a city of about 145,000 residents in the Antelope Valley, about 70 miles north of Los Angeles.

Another quadruple homicide and fire took place in the same area in late June. The bodies of a mother, her two children and a relative were found stabbed and beaten and their house was burned. The woman's ex-husband and an alleged accomplice were arrested and charged with murder and arson.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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