An around-the-clock effort to track down the suspects in a brazen murder at Arroyo Burro Beach appeared to intensify early Monday with the announcement of two arrests in connection with the case.
Sunday evening, detectives secured a warrant to search a Santa Barbara home as they hunted for those responsible for Thursday’s slashing death of 44-year-old Mesa resident Robert Burke Simpson.
Simpson was stabbed at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday during an altercation near the grassy picnic area at the popular beach, 2981 Cliff Drive. Witnesses say he was attempting to break up a fight when a Hispanic man ran up behind him and slit his throat.
Authorities estimated that several hundred people were in the park at the time of the confrontation, with the Boathouse Restaurant packed with patrons and the Surfrider Foundation’s Santa Barbara chapter holding an event nearby.
Several people rushed to Simpson’s aid but he died of his wounds.
Because of the large number of witnesses, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s detectives have been sifting through an abundance of leads with the assistance of sheriff’s deputies and Santa Barbara police officers. Officials say the investigation has been going day and night as officers seek to apprehend the suspect or suspects in Simpson’s death and those who may have helped the suspects avoid arrest.
Just after 1 a.m. Monday, Sheriff’s Department spokesman Drew Sugars said detectives had arrested Brittany Danielle Weiler, 19, of Santa Barbara, and a 17-year-old girl as alleged accessories to murder. Weiler, who was arrested Friday, is being held in Santa Barbara County Jail on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday. The juvenile was arrested Saturday and taken to Juvenile Hall.
Weiler’s address could not immediately be determined. A Brittany Weiler of Santa Barbara has a Facebook page but her information is locked. Weiler, who turned 19 on Wednesday, lists her occupation on her MySpace page as “drug dealler” and she describes herself as a “dedicated stoner marijuana patient.”
Authorities declined to identify the address of the house detectives searched Sunday night and what, if any, evidence or information was obtained.
Sugars said detectives know there are more people involved in the incident and they are aggressively working to identify and apprehend them. Anyone who may have any information related to the slaying or its aftermath is asked to contact detectives at 805.681.4150.
Witnesses wishing to remain anonymous can leave a message on the the sheriff’s Anonymous Tip Line at 805.681.4171.