Reedley PD releases further detail into homicide investigation

Reedley Chief of Police Joe Garza discloses names of all four homicide victims, provides updates on arrests of three residents in connection to the investigation

By Serena Bettis
Published January 11, 2024  • 
6:00 am
Reedley Chief of Police Joe Garza speaks to members of the media from the Reedley City Council Chambers on Jan. 10, 2024. Garza provided a comprehensive update on the investigation into four homicides that took place at a residence in Reedley days prior. (Serena Bettis)
Reedley Chief of Police Joe Garza speaks to members of the media from the Reedley City Council Chambers on Jan. 10, 2024. Garza provided a comprehensive update on the investigation into four homicides that took place at a residence in Reedley days prior. (Serena Bettis)

REEDLEY – Although major strides have been made in the homicide investigation that has captivated the city since the weekend, Reedley police still have a long way to go until they have all the answers they are looking for. 

The Reedley Police Department (RPD) has made three arrests connected to the case and identified all four homicide victims, but is still digging into the motive and means of what Chief of Police Joe Garza called one of the most heinous crimes he has seen in his time in law enforcement. 

Garza provided the victims’ family members and press with the most recent — and comprehensive — update on the investigation during a press conference from the Reedley City Council chambers in the afternoon of Jan. 10. 

“We will not stop our investigation until this case comes to complete closure,” Garza said. “We are running at full speed, but we have not reached the finish line. Our job is to find answers and to bring justice for those who cannot find justice for themselves at this time.” 

All four homicide victims have been identified by RPD as 81-year-old Billy Bonds, 61-year-old Darrell Bonds, 44-year-old Guadalupe Chavez Bonds and 43-year-old Matthew Bonds. 

Guadalupe Chavez Bonds and Matthew Bonds were married. Billy Bonds was the father to Darrell Bonds and grandfather to Matthew Bonds, and Darrell Bonds was the father to Matthew Bonds.

The family members lived together at 1151 South Church Ave. in Reedley, where the first three bodies were found on Jan. 6. All were long-time, well-known residents of Reedley, with Guadalupe Chavez Bonds and Billy Bonds being especially active in the community.

RPD arrests 3 suspects, says there could be more

One of the biggest developments in the case came around 6 p.m. on Jan. 9, when RPD announced they had arrested and charged three individuals for their suspected involvement in the deaths of the four residents. 

A 17-year-old male juvenile was arrested and booked into the Fresno County Juvenile Justice Center; Garza said his name will not be released because of his juvenile status. He is facing four counts of homicide, RPD said. 

Also arrested was the juvenile’s mother, 34-year-old Brynn Curtis, and Curtis’ boyfriend, 21-year-old Rafael Gonzalez. The two are being charged with “accessory after the fact,” which is brought against an individual who has knowledge of another person committing a crime and has aided that person in an attempt to avoid punishment. 

Garza said that he believes the 17-year-old did not act alone, and the department is “actively searching” for other suspects and other people who may have direct information on what occurred in these homicides. He encouraged anyone with information or anyone who may have been involved to come forward. 

“The family deserves to know what happened,” Garza said. “By them coming forward, if they have even just a little bit of information that is beneficial to this investigation, we encourage them to come forward and to let us know to help put closure to this case.” 

Curtis has a history of DUI charges and Gonzalez has an arrest record related to narcotics use, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Garza said the department has no knowledge of the 17-year-old having any prior criminal history; whether or not he is tried as an adult is up to the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office.

Garza said Curtis and Gonzalez were both released on bond and have the ability to return to their residence on South Church Avenue, where Curtis, Gonzalez and the juvenile all reside and were first detained on Jan. 9. 

“That’s the law, that’s the rules that we have to follow — that people are eligible for bond based on the charges that are filed against them,” Garza said. 

How the investigation unfolded

Reedley police were first called out to the residence at 1151 South Church Ave. the morning of Jan. 6 after a family member of the victims reported a possible burglary. The family had not heard from the occupants of the residence for quite some time and had gone to check on them, Garza said. 

“When we got there, we did not locate anybody at the residence, and as the officers made their way into the house to conduct their investigation, they found what appeared to be signs of a violent crime that had occurred inside of that residence,” Garza said. 

At that point, Garza said officers backed out of the residence and began to check other buildings on the property to attempt to locate anyone who may have been there. When officers entered the garage, they found a safe that appeared to be pried open, which “heightened our situation and we knew that something bad had happened at that residence,” Garza said. 

Per protocol, RPD then initiated the process to obtain a search warrant for the residence. Once they received the authority to go into the residence, Garza said officers and detectives made their way back into the residence, “again finding signs of a violent crime,” and saw upon a closer search that the safe had been “violently pried open.” 

As RPD officers searched the rest of the property, they found two bodies in the backyard — who were later identified as Billy Bonds and Guadalupe Bonds — which prompted RPD to turn the investigation into a homicide. 

Garza said that as RPD began canvassing the backyard for more evidence, they noticed what appeared to be “freshly disturbed dirt.” 

“Going on some hunches, going on just some thoughts and ensuring that we are very thorough in our investigation, we began slowly excavating that area by hand,” Garza said. “During that time we did locate what appeared to be a body part of a person.” 

Officers then dug out the area by hand and by using hand tools to uncover a third body — that of Darrell Bonds. 

“There was a fourth person that was unaccounted for — Matthew Bonds,” Garza said.

Based on information from the family, Garza said RPD believed Matthew Bonds to be an at-risk missing adult. At that point in the investigation, RPD was unsure of what was going on. 

“We did obviously come into a violent crime, and our fear was that he was either kidnapped or something had happened to him,” Garza said. “So our focus became to attempt to locate Matthew as well.” 

The discovery of three bodies and alert to the public about locating Matthew Bonds all transpired on Jan. 6. Garza said that as detectives began to develop leads and gather more information, they learned there were weapons inside the safe that was pried open, along with personal belongings and currency. The exact items of the safe are still being determined by RPD, Garza said. 

The investigation then led RPD to initiate three search warrants for residences located within Parlier, Selma and Reedley. The search warrants were executed around 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 9, with help from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team and the Clovis Police Department SWAT Team. 

Garza said the scope of the search warrants was to seek forensic evidence or property that may have been at those locations. The search of the Parlier residence and the Selma residence — for which no address has been released — resulted in the gathering of evidence from the residences and of multiple vehicles. 

“Those vehicles are at the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department being processed by investigators, and so the contents and/or evidentiary value of those vehicles has not been determined as of yet,” Garza said. 

The search warrant executed in Reedley was at the residence immediately to the north of the first crime scene — 1133 South Church Ave. This is where the three individuals who were later arrested were found. Garza said the Clovis SWAT Team detained all three individuals and then cleared the scene for RPD to search the residence. 

During the serving of the search warrant, the 17-year-old juvenile did attempt to run away, but was detained by officers a short distance away from the residence. At that time, he was arrested for resisting arrest, and all three individuals were brought to the police department for questioning. 

As officers then searched the property, they discovered forensic evidence they knew belonged to Billy Bonds. At that time, they also discovered the body of Matthew Bonds in a detached garage on the property. 

This search occurred the morning of Jan. 9; by the evening, the three detained individuals had been officially taken into custody and charged with the allegations brought against them. 

Garza said that the exact cause of death for all four victims is not being released at this time. The department is awaiting autopsy results — which should become available in the next few days — so they can be exact in determining the cause of death. 

Garza was able to share that based on initial investigation, “all four victims died of substantial violent injuries.” The exact timeframe of when the victims died has not yet been determined either.

These four homicides mark the first homicides of the year in Reedley and also some of the most violent that have occurred within the city. Garza said that there was only one homicide in the city in 2023. 

To the family of the victims, Garza said the department’s hearts go out to them because of the “horrific death” they are experiencing. 

Reedley Chief of Police Joe Garza speaks to members of the media from the Reedley City Council Chambers on Jan. 10, 2024. (Serena Bettis)

“I understand and I know that they are (and) they will be feeling this for a while,” Garza said. “Our goal, really, is to – as a police department – help bring closure for the family. That is why this is what we do; (it’s) why we do it. We want to bring closure; we want to bring people to justice.” 

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.

Serena Bettis
General Assignment Reporter