3 dead, 1 missing after Reedley triple-homicide

Reedley police continue search for a missing person, investigation into the homicide of three adult individuals found dead at their home over the weekend

By Serena Bettis and Darren Fraser
Published January 9, 2024  • 
10:00 am
Reedley Chief of Police Joe Garza addresses members of the media outside the Reedley Police Department on Monday, January 8, 2024, to speak about the ongoing investigation into a triple homicide that occurred in the city over the weekend. (Serena Bettis)
Reedley Chief of Police Joe Garza addresses members of the media outside the Reedley Police Department on Monday, January 8, 2024, to speak about the ongoing investigation into a triple homicide that occurred in the city over the weekend. (Serena Bettis)

REEDLEY – A triple-homicide is still under investigation by the Reedley Police Department (RPD) after a call about a potential burglary led to the discovery of three deceased individuals on Saturday.

Two men and one woman were found dead in the backyard of a home in the 1100 block of South Church Avenue in Reedley on Jan. 6, the police department reported. At a press conference outside the police station on Jan. 8, Reedley Chief of Police Joe Garza said the department is pursuing the investigation vigorously and meticulously while being cautious of what information they release that could be detrimental to the case. 

“This is not a crime that will go unpunished,” Garza said. “We will work tirelessly, day in and day out, until we find the person responsible or persons responsible for this heinous crime. The family needs closure, and justice will be served.”

Garza identified two of the victims as residents Billy Bonds, 81, and Guadalupe Bonds, 44; the identity of the third victim will not be released until the Fresno County Coroner’s Office makes an official identification. While police believe they know the identity of the third victim, Garza said they will withhold that information until they have had “ample opportunity to notify family, if necessary.”

RPD has not released a cause of death but said that evidence at the crime scene led them to investigate the situation as a homicide. Garza said that he could confirm firearms were involved in the deaths. 

Reedley police are also currently searching for 43-year-old Matthew Bonds — also a resident of the home where the homicide victims were found — who the police believe is at-risk due to both the events at the Church Avenue residence and “known health issues.” 

RPD is asking for the public’s help in locating Bonds, stating that his safety and well-being are of “utmost concern.” Attempts by family members and investigators to reach Bonds have not been successful.

“We are renewing our appeal to the community for any information that may assist in locating Bonds,” said the most recent RPD press release from 5 p.m. Jan. 7. “We understand that with time, new details may emerge, and even the smallest piece of information could prove crucial. We urge anyone who might have seen Bonds or has any knowledge of his whereabouts to come forward.”

Garza said that RPD is not aware of any vehicle that Matthew Bonds could have traveled in, and the department does not believe any vehicles were missing from the home. RPD is pursuing all leads regarding where Bonds could be, Garza said. 

“My concern for Matthew’s well-being is one of our top priorities as well,” Garza said. “If anyone has any information, if Matthew is watching this: Please contact the Reedley Police Department. I know your family is very concerned for you, and so we want to be able to speak to you, because obviously you could have some insight into what occurred at that residence.”

Anyone with information has been asked to contact RPD at 559-637-4250. Anonymous tips can be sent to RPD’s English tip line at 559-356-8690 or the Spanish tip line at 559-246-4183.

At this time, the department has not identified any suspects. When asked if the department was concerned that there could be a person in the area who could commit the same crime, Garza said that there is “always a possibility for anything at this point,” which is why the department has asked the residents to be vigilant of everything happening in their community.

“Please report any suspicious activity that is occurring in your neighborhood area,” Garza said.

Over the weekend, RPD called the homicides a “distressing event” and acknowledged community concerns regarding unanswered questions about what happened. 

“The Reedley Police Department understands the heightened concern and anxiety that such news may generate within the community,” RPD said in a Facebook post at 9:52 p.m. Jan. 6. “We are steadfast in our commitment to resolving this case and ensuring the safety of all residents. We urge the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity or information that may be relevant to this case.”

Timeline of events

The Mid Valley Times learned from a source at the scene that a relative of the family last contacted the deceased at 1 p.m. Jan. 4. 

(Danny Jimenez)
(Danny Jimenez)

This relative returned to the home around 8 a.m. on Saturday morning to check in on the family, at which point they discovered the crime scene. According to the individual, there were shell casings and blood inside the home; they then exited the home and called the police.

In the first update released by RPD around 4:30 p.m. Jan. 6, the department said officers were dispatched to the scene at approximately 9 a.m. Jan. 6 in response to reports of a residential burglary. 

“Upon arrival, officers encountered an empty gun safe and believe various rifles and pistols have been removed,” the release said. 

At that time, officers also found two deceased individuals on the property — described as an elderly white male adult — Billy Bonds — and a Hispanic female adult — Guadalupe Bonds. The two individuals were found in the backyard, underneath a tarp, Garza said. 

In the following press release from 9:30 p.m. Jan. 6, RPD announced the discovery of a third deceased individual, described as a white male adult. At that time, RPD also identified Bonds as a missing at-risk individual.

Serena Bettis and Darren Fraser