Coroner's Office personnel remove a body from 635 Walnut Park Lane, where four people and a dog were found dead from multiple stab wounds.

Paul Wellman

Coroner's Office personnel remove a body from 635 Walnut Park Lane, where four people and a dog were found dead from multiple stab wounds.

Multiple Murder Victims Found in Home Near Goleta

UPDATE: Nicolas Holzer Arrested for Fatally Stabbing Parents and Two Young Sons

Originally published 9:35 a.m., August 12, 2014
Updated 9:00 p.m., August 12, 2014
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[UPDATE]: A horrific case of domestic violence left four family members stabbed to death in their home near Goleta late Monday night. Authorities say 45-year-old Nicolas Holzer used two kitchen knives to kill his parents, his two sons, and his dog before he called police to turn himself in. Speaking in a “calm” and “matter of fact” tone, Holzer told a dispatcher he had killed his entire family because it was his “destiny,” said Sheriff Bill Brown on Tuesday.

Holzer, who is from Santa Barbara, first repeatedly stabbed his father, William Holzer, 73, in the den of the house located at 635 Walnut Park Lane where the five of them had lived for approximately seven years, Brown said. Holzer proceeded into his sons’ bedroom as they were sleeping and repeatedly stabbed Sebastian, 13, and Vincent, who was 10. He went on to kill his mother, Sheila Holzer, 74, in the doorway of the boys’ bedroom. Last, Holzer stabbed his Australian shepherd in the hallway. All victims were determined deceased once medics arrived, and authorities detained Holzer at the front door without incident.

Nicolas Holzer
Click to enlarge photo


Nicolas Holzer

When asked why he had committed these murders, Holzer told detectives, “I had to.” Brown did not elaborate, and a motive or preceding event has not yet been identified. Investigators are determining the “possibility” or “probability” that mental illness was involved, he added. Drugs or alcohol are not suspected, said sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover. Because of HIPPA laws, authorities cannot report if Holzer had been taking prescription drugs.

The tragic event was “not unexpected,” said a neighbor, who did not want to be identified. Holzer had been unemployed for years and had appeared to be on a downhill slide after his contentious divorce a number of years ago, the neighbor added. “You would have to force him to say hello,” he said. The family did not appear to be happy, the neighbor said, adding Holzer had “psychological problems.” The neighbor had previously told William Holzer to come get him if there were ever a physical confrontation.

Law enforcement has not responded to the residence in the past several years, according to Brown; however, a neighbor recalled that an ambulance had responded to the house a couple years ago, but that could not be confirmed. The only contact Holzer had with Sheriff’s deputies was in 1996, when he was a witness in an assault case, Brown said. Holzer does not have a criminal record.

Holzer had full custody of his two sons, and according to another anonymous neighbor, his ex-wife was never seen at the house. William Holzer was still working part-time as he had five mouths to feed and two grandkids to someday put through college, a neighbor added. William Holzer was a well-known scientist who previously worked for Raytheon and held a patent to an optical measuring device, Brown said.

The young boys seemed to be “highly intelligent” but were never seen playing out in the street on the quiet cul-de-sac, said the neighbor. Residents on the street are fairly close, the neighbor added, and recalled William Holzer to be sociable and his wife, Sheila, to be as quiet as a “church mouse.” Vincent, the youngest boy, attended Foothill Elementary School around the corner and would run to and from school every day. Sebastian would have started the 8th grade at La Colina Junior High School in a few weeks. Goleta and Santa Barbara school districts will offer support and counseling to teachers or students who need it, Brown added.

A neighbor, who had been up all night, said the crime scene Monday night was very “quiet” and “professional.” Others close by said they did not hear about the gruesome incident until Tuesday on the news.

Holzer, who is in custody without bail, will likely be charged with multiple murder counts and felony animal cruelty, said District Attorney Joyce Dudley. Holzer will be officially charged by prosecutor Ron Zonen on Wednesday.

“It’s sad and tragic. For the two boys and the grandparents. I know they wanted the best for their son and did what they could to help him,” said the neighbor. “As far as that goes, they were very private. You just never know what happens behind closed doors.”

[UPDATE]: The Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that detectives are investigating a quadruple homicide at a residence in the 600 block of Walnut Park Lane near Goleta. Spokesperson Kelly Hoover said four victims and a dog were discovered in the home with multiple stab wounds and that a 46-year-old male suspect was taken into custody without incident. She declined to release any additional information.

A press conference scheduled for 10 a.m. has been canceled until victims’ families can be located and notified, Hoover said.

Independent reporter Kelsey Brugger remains on the scene and said coroner’s personnel have removed two bodies from the home. The area remains blocked off as authorities conduct their investigation, she said.

[ORIGINAL REPORT]:According to unconfirmed reports, multiple homicide victims were found Monday night inside a home at 635 Walnut Park Lane near the city of Goleta. An unidentified 46-year-old man is in custody, and authorities say there are not looking for any additional suspects. Four people are believed to have been killed, sources say.

Sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover declined to release any more details on the incident. A press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Sheriff’s Office headquarters.

The home where the murders reportedly took place is located in a cul-de-sac near Foothill Elementary School. The end of the street has been blocked off by law enforcement personnel, said Independent reporter Kelsey Brugger, who is on the scene. She described the neighborhood as “really still and quiet.”

This is a breaking story. Check back soon for details.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

sad news........ but why report it's "NEAR" Goleta when It's "IN" Goleta......

retprotector (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 10:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It's not "IN" Goleta per official maps. 93111 is SB.

cycleboy (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 10:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The article is correct as written. Walnut Park Lane is not within the City of Goleta.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 10:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I stand corrected....... I guess it's an unincorporated area of SB....

retprotector (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 10:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Walnut Park Lane is in the county not in the city of Goleta. This is a very sad tragic situation for this family and certainly scary for the immediate neighbors too. The neighborhood is in the Foothill School attendance area and I know many people who live close by. Very sad day indeed.

terryutterback (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 10:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Multiple-stabbing homicide. Tragic. Ban all the guns! Oh, wait...

Indyholio (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 10:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

i see what you did indyholio... leveraged a tragedy into a gun statement.

aren't you the clever one.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 10:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Families are being notified - maybe this was not a family of four itself but four persons living here together. The same mystery as the recent Isla Vista stabbings - how can one person stab that many people at the same time and not have some of them escape or overpower the murderer. Pending details. At least this time the suspect is still alive so we can learn more.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 12:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

WTH why don't Independent articles include a TIME, at which is was written? We don't know WHEN this information came out, how old it is, or the last time it was updated.

AP style requires a time. Why don't Independent articles do the same? It's an awful oversight that needs to be fixed. EVERY OTHER MAJOR news site contains times attached to the original posts, AND UPDATES. What makes it even more of a glaring oversight is the fact that the writer MENTIONS that a press conference was scheduled for 10AM. So, time is actually mentioned in the piece, but never revealed at which time it is posted. Wouldn't it be helpful to let the reader know the time that information became available and was posted publicly on the web site?

The basics.....when a news entity fails at just the basics, it makes me shudder, and not trust a damn thing in it because it fails to even address teh most fundamental piece of information: WHAT TIME THE INFORMATION WAS WRITTEN AND POSTED BY THE INDEPENDENT STAFF.



goldcoastlover (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 1:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The time is clearly marked on the homepage as 9:35 a.m.

We often include time stamps in updates as well, but given the fluid nature of this situation, the ongoing reporting, and the fact that this is a deadline day with most of our staff also working on about 25 other stories at the same time, we did not include that this time, since it was very soon after the first post. We will include a time stamp on the next update.

The reason we don't include a time stamp as policy is because the time of posting is not relevant to 99% of the many dozen stories we create per week. Instead, as in this instance, we do include the time stamp on the homepage for stories posted since the previous midnight for those who are seeking a reference point.

Matt (Matt Kettmann)
August 12, 2014 at 1:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I tend to make some really long posts here from time to time, but I would have probably just gone with a "Timestamps??"

They do usually include them in their articles with updates.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 1:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So sad. We've lost a member of the local tech community and his family.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Goldcoast, why don't you take a chill pill, who cares about "timestamps". We lost people from our community in a heinous crime. That's more important than timestamps. You need to figure out what's more important.

My condolences to the family and friends of these people.

onlytime211 (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 2:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In Florian Illies' recent "1913: The Year Before the Storm" the author quotes from artist Max Beckmann's diary: "Man is and remains a first-class swine."
This is unquestionably a canard directed at S. scrofa domesticus.

73A10D (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 4:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Lawdy: Leveraging a tragedy into a gun statement is hardly original to Indyholio eh?

nuffalready (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 4:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Lawdy: Yes, I *do* think Indyholio's comment is relevant since more people have died locally from knives than by guns (three of the six in I.V., and four more in Goleta) but gun-control advocates keep insisting the problem is the availability of guns.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 4:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

lawdy - "i see what you did indyholio... leveraged a tragedy into a gun statement.

aren't you the clever one."

Comment by Lawdy On Tax Bullets
Posted on June 23 at 1:37 p.m.

"'guns are not the problem 'hahahaha."

Aren't you the hypocrite, Lawdy

14noscams (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 4:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The tragedy is using such crimes to get on the anti-gun bandwagon, regardless. Indiholio, you handled this anti-gun hypocrisy with a deft touch. It's okay.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 5:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The other thing I wanted to mention is that this sort of violence is de rigeur in the inner cities but only concerns the mainstream when it knocks on their door.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 5:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Trying to make a point about gun violence by pointing to a couple of local incidents in which people are killed with knives is like claiming that a cool day in Santa Barbara disproves decades of statistics on global warming.

Nationally, far more people are murdered by guns than in all other ways combined, and the murder rate by guns is far higher in the US than in other developed countries.

If you want to present reasons to argue against various forms of gun control, fine, but citing deaths from knives as a reason to back off trying to rein in gun-related deaths is imbecilic.

pk (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 5:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Check it. You all travel in packs. How dismal. 14noscams, back in June I was replying to the above comment.

Indioholio didn't even wait for the blood to dry. He was pissing himself, he was so keen to get that drop in in there. Mission accomplished Indio, all the tuff guys popped out.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 6 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Billclausen - there is nothing "de rigeur" about this type of violence anywhere.

3domfighter (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 6:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Really? Go to Chicago's south side, Compton, Ingelwood, South Philly, New Orleans, Miami, and see how safe you feel there compared to Goleta or Isla Vista.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 7:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My husband worked with and knew the victims. It is family violence. Please be kind to one another. Cherish each day in every way. Linda Thom, Coupeville, Washington

LHThom (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 7:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

ditto pk; a very sad day, let's calm and think of these families.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 8:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here's the latest. 45 year old Nicholas Holzer killed his parents and two sons. Very sad.

Botany (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 8:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Y'all got some very weird and disturbing priorities, especially GoldCoastLover.
Linda I think I knew of you, my mom was a weaver.

SO MUCH DEATH recently! My sincere sympathies to the victims and loved ones, not all us media vultures (I read the news & watched the press conference, and obviously, the address was, sadly, clearly pictured by local news media). Have a good cry, say a prayer or just send bright thoughts. Blessed be, all.

geraldbostock (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 8:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Very Tragic!!! I live a few blocks from where this occurred. I knew and went to High School with Nick the accused and my 11 yr old knew and went to school with the youngest son. My son is devastated at the loss of his friend. I will pray for the the family and my heart goes out to them. As for my son, he misses his friend and I will hold on to my sons a little longer this morning and each and every morning until I am unable to hold on no more. Again my thoughts and prayers go out to this family.

NavAiRecon2 (anonymous profile)
August 13, 2014 at 6:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Most murders in Santa Barbara are based on mental illness.

While Sheriff Brown is glad to raise money for prisons, the root of these murders go unaddressed. Mental health services should be a higher priority than the prison business. Only by reaching and treating mentally ill people can these types of murders be prevented.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
August 13, 2014 at 9:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well considering SSRIs are attributed to increase in suicides, megalomania and mass shootings, maybe we should be careful where the money for combating mental illness goes? Don't just put the money in the hands of big pharma.

Do I even have to ask if Nicholas Holzer was on SSRIs??

Robin Williams was combating depression and I have little doubt he was on SSRIs and this was very likely what caused him to commit suicide.

Elliot Rodgers was addicted to Xanax and even though we were told he avoided being put on a particular medication that was suggested to him, I saw nothing about him NOT being on SSRIs and other prescription medications. You would have thought that would have been mentioned in his 114 page manifesto, but beside the short reference to overdosing on Xanax after the murders, a substance to which it was known he had a heavy prescription and was addicted, there was no mention to his prescription drug usage. I find this highly indicative of the possibility that his manifesto was written by a psychiatrist, in fact his manifesto reads a lot like a string of recordings from psychiatric sessions, although admittedly his psychiatric sessions could have helped him to write out his ideas in such a format as well and this is just a theory.

Another theory worth looking into is whether there may have been a reason they wanted Nicholas' father William Holzer who worked with defense contractors gone for some reason or another, psychiatric patients like Nicholas Holzer are often used as MK Ultra victims.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
August 13, 2014 at 10:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Georgy: "Most murders in Santa Barbara are based on mental illness."

Got to agree 100%. But here's the missing link: In most, if not all, of these cases, SOMEBODY KNEW SOMETHING. yet nobody came forward to say anything and possibly prevent a tragedy.
This guy, Idiot Rodger, Doofus Attias, they ALL had indicators that people saw, yet kept quiet about.
To the next a-hole that decides to "fulfill their destiny" such as this guy, here's a thought: Leave other people to live their destiny out, keep others out of your destiny.

blahblahmoreblah (anonymous profile)
August 13, 2014 at 1:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

onlytime211, Georgy and loonpt are the only posters here that are focusing priorities. onlytime211 brings up "what is most important" as a focus. Yes, and Georgy states "mental illness". loonpt brings up big pharma and dysfunctional mental health care, but not functional mental health care.
If free speech was not abridged, and freedom if the press, y'all would know about a proposal of functional mental health care that treats the unconscious mind directly. All of the potential for extreme violence originates in a human beings unconscious mind.
KEYT censors comments at their web site about the extensive history behind this proposal. The Newspress gags reporters to stop stories about lawsuits trying to get effective mental health care. Federal courts secretly remove local court rules to prevent lawsuits from compelling the county to develop effective treatment direct to the unconscious mind.
Senior Editor: Matt Kettmann won't talk to me, evades. This goes back 8 years with the Indie to the Newspress gaggings.

A Craigslist post has more info on the history of this effort.

So what is most important? Talking about this tragedy or stopping the next one? Call Barney Brantigham and let him know how long and hard I've been trying with no help from any paper! 805 965 5205. Tell him Kettman has my contact info. and to call me up. There needs to be a story about how to STOP the killing . . . NOW!

Christophera (anonymous profile)
August 13, 2014 at 10:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)
Below are some of the mass-murderer statistics (thanks to Deborah Merlin and her book, Victory Over ADHD ): The VirginiaTech shooter murdered thirty-two. Cho was prescribed the antidepressant drug Prozac prior to his rampage. Jeffrey Weiss went on a shooting rampage on March 21, 2005, at Red Lake High School that left ten dead, including him. Earlier that day,Weiss had killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend. He was on Prozac and the dosage had recently been increased. Eric Harris, one of the killers at Columbine High School, was on the antidepressant drug Luvox. Court records show that the prescription for Harris had been filled ten times between April 1998 and March 1999.Three and a half months before the shooting, the dosage had been increased. The Physician’s Desk Reference records show that during controlled clinical trials of Luvox, manic reactions developed in 4 percent of the children given the drug. In Houston, Texas, Andrea Yates drowned her five children while taking Effexor and Remeron. Christopher Pittman shot and killed his grandparents at age twelve. He claimed a voice inside his head told him to kill his grandparents on November 28, 2001. Christopher had recently started to take Zoloft to treat mild depression. A more complete list.

Phantom (anonymous profile)
August 15, 2014 at 4:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Santa Barbara Independent keeps stating "Near the city of Goleta" ... Just say it... "Santa Barbara" ... "it happened in Santa Barbara".

RickWorth (anonymous profile)
August 16, 2014 at 5:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Rick Worth keep your voice down, you'll scare the tourists.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 16, 2014 at 5:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

it was in Noleta

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
August 16, 2014 at 6:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm in the zip code, it's Santa Barbara.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 16, 2014 at 6:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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