[UPDATE: 1:40 p.m.]
“It’s an incredibly cruel trick to play, especially in light of what our community has been through,” said Kelly Hoover, spokesperson for Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, of the hoax call claiming a family had been killed in Noleta. The call, which came from a 661 area code at 11:30 a.m., is being investigated, she said, and was made by a male caller to an officer at his desk.
Reverse 9-1-1 calls to immediate neighbors told them to stay inside, and Vieja Valley Elementary School and the Learning Center were placed on lockdown for the duration. San Marcos High School, deemed far away enough, remained open.
Deputies searched the yard and home on Arroyo Road, and found nothing. The people who lived in the house, which was surrounded by 25 units of Sheriff’s deputies, were unaware of the hoax call. The incident lasted approximately 45 minutes.
Authorities are investigating a potential murder in the Noleta area between Goleta and Santa Barbara, where a man called to report that he had murdered his wife and children and was planning to kill himself.
The incident is said to be occurring on the 300 block of Arroyo Road. Sheriff’s deputies are actively looking for the suspect.
The nearby Vieja Valley school is on lockdown, with students and teachers reportedly safe inside. Parents have been asked to stay out of the area until the incident is cleared.