[UPDATE, 11:10 p.m.]: Authorities have released the names of three homicide victims found Wednesday evening at 4640 Greenhill Way: Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han, his 29-year-old wife Huijie “Jennie” Yu, and their five-year-old daughter Emily Han. No additional details were provided in the press release issued by Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kelly Hoover.
Emily was enrolled in kindergarten at Foothill Elementary School. By Thursday afternoon, Foothill kindergarten families were consulting the school psychologist about how best to discuss the incident with their children.
“From my very few interactions with [Emily], she seemed like a sweet and curious child who was very interested in learning about other kids and the world at large,” said Independent senior editor Matt Kettmann, whose son is in her class. “Our neighbors and the entire Foothill community are in shock, yet again.” In August 2014, Santa Barbara County resident Nicolas Holzer was arrested and charged with killing his parents and his two sons in their home near Goleta. Holzer’s son Vincent, 10, attended Foothill Elementary School.
More information will be released Friday at noon, Hoover said.
[UPDATE, 5:15 p.m.]: Authorities have identified but not released the names of the three people found murdered following a Wednesday evening welfare check at 4640 Greenhill Way near Goleta.
“Sheriff’s detectives are actively investigating this case and are working around the clock to determine who is responsible for this horrific crime,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kelly Hoover in a press release. She added, “Early indications are that this was not a random attack.” The victims’ names are being withheld pending next-of-kin notification.
Situated on a seven-acre avocado orchard at the top of a gated driveway, the four-bedroom home is registered as being owned by well-known Chinese herbal medicine specialist Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han. Han, 57, is the founder of the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic located across from La Cumbre Plaza.
Forensic investigators from the Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Justice are collaborating on the investigation. Hoover said the next update from law enforcement officials will be at 10 p.m. Thursday night. Anyone with information on the case is asked the call the Sheriff’s anonymous tip line at (805) 681-4171.
[UPDATE, 12:45 p.m.]: A short time ago, Sheriff’s detectives were witnessed entering the Santa Barbara Herbal Clinic on upper State Street, which is run by Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han.
Han is the listed owner of the Greenhill Way home where the three bodies were found.
People could be seen inside the clinic, but they declined to answer the door. Phone calls went unanswered. Potted plants had been moved in front of the entryway to dissuade access.
Greenhill Way neighbor John Frank told Independent editor Lena Garcia that between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesday, he saw two police cars approach Han’s home. By 4 p.m., 11 more law enforcement vehicles had arrived. Frank said he watched an Asian man and another person being led down the driveway by officers. The man was not wearing handcuffs, he said.
[UPDATE, 12:00 p.m.]: Independent assistant news editor Léna Garcia is on the scene and speaking with neighbors. Cindy Lafonde jogs near the home every day and said its occupants were rarely seen, describing them as “very quiet people.” “I’ve only seen the gardener,” she said. Garcia described the home, which sits above the private condominium community of Forte Ranch, as surrounded by large gardens and not visible from the main road below.
[ORIGINAL REPORT]: A Wednesday evening welfare check at a mansion in unincorporated Santa Barbara developed into a “suspicious death” investigation, in which three bodies were found around 12:25 a.m. Thursday.
Around 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sheriff’s deputies responded to 4640 Greenhill Way for a welfare check, said Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kelly Hoover. “They found evidence inside [the home] that prompted a suspicious death investigation.” The Mediterranean-style home, located in an unincorporated area between Goleta and Santa Barbara, sits at the end of a long driveway and occupies a seven-acre property. Public records show it was last sold in 2012 to Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han, founder of the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic.
As of early Thursday morning, investigators and the Sheriff’s Coroner were on scene. The Sheriff’s Office stated it would delay naming the dead until next-of-kin were notified.