Heidi Hubrecht knew her ex-boyfriend could be unbalanced and unpredictable, prone to mood swings and depression. When Luis DeDios threatened to kill himself in late March, Hubrecht completely broke contact with him after they had dated for nearly a year and a half. But she was scared about how he would take it.
“Her biggest fear was that [DeDios] would just show up somewhere,” said one of Hubrecht’s close friends, explaining Hubrecht recently changed her email address, cell phone number, and door locks, and bought a Taser. She was thinking about filing a restraining order against DeDios, but hadn’t yet.
Early Friday morning at about 2:30 a.m., Santa Barbara Sheriff’s deputies discovered the bodies of Hubrecht and DeDios on the balcony of a Goleta apartment building. Though the investigation is ongoing, authorities say DeDios somehow gained entrance to Hubrecht’s unit at 198 Camino De Vida and waited for her, armed with a hunting knife.
When Hubrecht and her roommate arrived home, DeDios attacked both women, injuring the roommate and mortally wounding his ex-girlfriend. He then turned the knife on himself, stabbing numerous times. The roommate, 21, survived her wounds, but Hubrecht and DeDios died at the scene. They were both 23 years old.
Multiple 9-1-1 calls were made as the horrific scene unfolded, including one from the injured roommate. A second roommate was in the apartment when the attack took place, but she was asleep in her room and didn’t witnesses the incident.
Hubrecht, from Canyon Lake, which is north of Temecula, recently started teaching at secondary language school EF Santa Barbara and was a skater on the Brawlin’ Betties roller derby team. Her friend, who wished to remain anonymous, called her “a very patient, giving person.” DeDios was born and raised in Santa Barbara and was living with his grandparents in Goleta, Hubrecht’s friend said. He enjoyed playing guitar and often kept to himself. Recently, the friend said, DeDios was fired from his job at a pet store for insubordination. His grandparents couldn’t be reached for comment.
According to Hubrecht’s friend — the two women went to UCSB together, meeting at freshman orientation and remaining close through school and after graduation — DeDios threatened suicide on March 27. He told Hubrecht he was going to swallow an overdose of the prescription pills he took for anxiety, then drown himself in the ocean. DeDios, said Hubrecht’s friend, didn’t abuse drugs and only occasionally drank on the weekends.
Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Drew Sugars confirmed that a worried Hubrecht called his office on March 27 and that deputies were dispatched to Santa Claus Beach where they found DeDios. He was transported to Cottage Hospital and placed on suicide watch, but was later released. It was his first contact with the Sheriff’s Department.
Shortly thereafter, DeDios began sending Hubrecht a number of emails, again threatening to kill himself and blaming her for his unhappiness. Hubrecht confided in one of her friends via Facebook after the incident, and a selection of her messages were forwarded to The Santa Barbara Independent. They are published here exactly as they were written:
— hes sending me emails saying stuff like he’s definitely going to do it if i dont help him and “how sad are you going to feel when i actually go through with this
— it just sucks that he tries to put it on me, fully saying it will be my fault when it happens
— they put him there but apparently he easily convinced the doctors he wouldnt do it again! and then right after he got out he emailed me that no doubt he will be doing it the next chance he gets!
— im so pissed at the system right now
— i asked the police if there was anything they can do and they just said no, its up to the docs so if he convinced them hes ok then they cant send him back unless he actually makes a full on attempt again
— i know im like he already had an attempt that they barely saved him from and he is making more threats, what else do you need?!?!
Calls to Cottage Hospital for comment were not immediately returned, and Ann Detrick, director of the county’s Department of Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services, said she wasn’t aware of DeDios’s March 27 suicide threat; she wouldn’t be able to comment even if she were privy to his case because of privacy considerations, she said.
Detrick explained that when a suicidal person is brought to Cottage Hospital, a mental health worker with the county’s Crisis and Recovery Emergency Services is dispatched to assess the severity of the case. Depending on the person’s state of mind, the patient may be monitored there for a finite period of time, or the patient may be referred to the county’s Psychiatric Health Facility for longer term treatment.
It’s not clear at the moment where DeDios was held or for how long, but Hubrecht’s friend claimed he was soon released from care after “manipulating” doctors into believing he wasn’t a risk to himself or others.
The Sheriff’s coroner’s bureau, said Sugars, will examine the bodies on Tuesday. A final coroner’s report is not expected for several weeks pending the results of toxicology tests.
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If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (273-8255). The number is toll-free and services are available 24/7.