Tuesday, October 23 , 2018, 2:14 pm | Fair 70º

 
 
 
 

Couple, Child Found Murdered in Home; Authorities Say Killings Likely ‘Not a Random Attack’

Deputies discover bodies of Dr. Weidong Henry Han, his wife and 5-year-old daughter in house on Greenhill Way near Goleta

A make-shift memorial was set up Friday near the home of Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han and his wife and 5-year-old daughter, who were found slain Thursday.
A make-shift memorial was set up Friday near the home of Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han and his wife and 5-year-old daughter, who were found slain Thursday. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

A Santa Barbara doctor, his wife and 5-year-old daughter were found murdered Thursday inside a home between Goleta and Santa Barbara, but authorities were releasing few details about the killings.

“Detectives are actively investigating this case, and are working around the clock to determine who is responsible for this horrific crime,” said Kelly Hoover, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

“While they are not ruling out any possibilities, early indications are that this was not a random attack.”

The victims were identified late Thursday  as Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han, 57; his wife, 29-year-old Huijie “Jennie” Yu; and their daughter, Emily Han, a kindergartner at Foothill School.

The causes of death were not released, and sheriff’s investigators have not indicated whether they have any suspects in the case.

Officials also have not released a possible motive in the killings.

Dr. Weidong ‘Henry’ Han
Dr. Weidong ‘Henry’ Han

Deputies were dispatched at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to the residence in the 4600 block of Greenhill Way on a check-the-welfare call, Hoover said.

The upscale home is on a seven-acre parcel up the hill from the county’s health-care complex on Calle Real, west of Sheriff’s Department headquarters.

“When sheriff’s deputies arrived and entered the home, they found evidence inside that prompted a suspicious death investigation,” Hoover said.

A search warrant was obtained early Thursday, and “once inside, coroner’s investigators recovered the remains of three individuals from the residence,” Hoover said.

Huijie ‘Jennie’ Yu
Huijie ‘Jennie’ Yu

The sheriff’s forensics unit and state Department of Justice forensics investigators were working together to process the scene, Hoover said.

She said a post-mortem examination will be conducted on each of the victims to determine cause and manner of death.

Han practiced traditional Chinese medicine at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic at 3886 State St. in Santa Barbara, which he founded in 1991.

His wife worked with him at the clinic, which reportedly was searched Thursday by investigators.

According to the clinic’s website, both of Han’s parents were doctors, and he received his M.D. and Doctor of Oriental Medicine degrees in 1982 from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine.

Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call the sheriff’s Anonymous Tip Line at 805.681.4171.

Foothill Elementary School is closed for spring break starting Friday, but Goleta Union School District staff coordinated a comfort center for families and staff.

The center was scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Friday in room 21 at Foothill School and was being opened with support from the County Department of Behavioral Wellness, said Margaret Saleh, assistant superintendent of pupil services. Foothill is located at 711 Ribera Dr. 

Staff from Behavioral Health, the Foothill school therapist and community members will be available, Saleh said. Several teachers will also attend.

“Just because the school went through this in the past, the impact may be harder and need more attention,” Saleh said.

Less than two years ago, another Foothill Elementary student was killed in a mass murder — Vincent Holzer, 10, his older brother Sebastian, 13, and their grandparents Bill and Sheila Holzer were murdered by their father Aug. 11, 2014, according to authorities. Nicolas Holzer has been charged with multiple counts of murder. 

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

A Santa Barbara County sheriff’s patrol car blocks access on Thursday to a Greenhill Way house near Goleta, where a couple and their 5-year-old daughter were found murdered early Thursday. Officials were releasing few details about the deaths. Click to view larger
A Santa Barbara County sheriff’s patrol car blocks access on Thursday to a Greenhill Way house near Goleta, where a couple and their 5-year-old daughter were found murdered early Thursday. Officials were releasing few details about the deaths. (Ryan Cullom / Noozhawk photo)

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