An Oceanside man has been arrested on suspicion of killing a well-known Santa Barbara doctor, his wife and their 5-year-old daughter, sheriff’s officials said Friday afternoon in Southern California.
Pierre Haobsh, 26, was arrested in the shooting deaths of 57-year-old Weidong "Henry" Han, his 29-year-old wife Huijie “Jennie” Yu and their 5-year-old daughter, Emily Han.
Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies found the family members’ bodies in their upscale home in the 4600 block of Greenhill Way in Goleta, California, near Santa Barbara, on Wednesday evening.
“This tragic case is a terrible blow to the Santa Barbara area and medical community at large,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.
One of Dr. Han's colleagues had alerted authorities when he had failed to show up for a business meeting in Los Angeles. All of the Han family members were last seen alive on Tuesday evening, officials explained.
Authorities conducted a welfare check at Dr. Han's home and made a grisly discovery. In the garage, deputies found the bodies of the doctor, his wife and their young daughter wrapped in plastic and bound with duct tape.
"This was a diabolical, premeditated crime," Brown said in a news conference Friday evening. "One of the most odious that I have ever been involved with."
Brown released few details into the circumstances that led to the horrifying triple killing.
"This is such a horrendous time for all of us in Santa Barbara. It's unspeakable," longtime patient of Dr. Han's Susan Allen told NBC 7.
Allen said she saw Han right before the murders.
"He was really looking so happy that I assumed something wonderful had happened," she said.
Haobsh was a business acquaintance of Dr. Han's, though the sheriff did not specify the type of business they were involved in.
“Haobsh was recently involved in a business transaction with Mr. Han,” Sheriff Brown said.
"A friend of mine saw the murderer in Dr. Han's office on two occasions," Allen explained. "So he recognized him. This man was at Henry's office twice."
Sheriff Brown said investigators zeroed in on Haobsh as the primary suspect in the slayings. Haobsh lives with his father on Sunglow Drive in Oceanside, a community about 40 miles north of downtown San Diego and approximately 190 miles south of Goleta.
Deputies conducted a surveillance operation on Haobsh and spotted him driving in unincorporated San Diego County at about 12:30 a.m. Friday. They followed him to a gas station in Bonsall, where he was arrested at gunpoint.
Upon searching the suspect, detectives recovered a loaded 9mm handgun and an unspecified item that belonged to one of the Hans. Investigators have not yet determined if that handgun was the murder weapon.
Haobsh has no criminal history, Brown said. Investigators have not released a suspected motive for the crime, though they say "financial gain" was believed to be the driving force behind the case.
Dr. Han ran the Santa Barbara Herbal Clinic since 1991, with his wife working alongside him in the office, Brown explained.
The couple's daughter, Emily, would have turned six years old on Saturday.
Investigators say more information on the case will be released next week. It was not immediately clear Friday night if Haobsh had retained an attorney.
On Saturday, NBC 7 spoke with some of Haobsh’s neighbors on his quiet street in Oceanside. Many said they were in utter shock over the violent case.
“It’s scary having a murderer right next door. Unfortunately that happens in a lot of neighborhoods. You don’t know your neighbors that well,” one woman told NBC 7. “A whole family and a child? Why? Why? What a terrible thing.”