Santa Barbara County sheriff’s detectives are investigating a homicide that occurred early Saturday at a house near Santa Ynez Valley Union High School.

Deputies were dispatched shortly before 4 a.m. to the residence on Jason Way, a short street just west of North Refugio Road directly north of the school’s football stadium, according to Raquel Zick, sheriff’s public information officer.

“When deputies arrived, they found an adult male victim,” Zick said. “The suspect fled prior to deputies arrival, and deputies immediately began searching the area.”

Firefighters and medics also responded, Zick said, but the victim could not be revived, and was declared dead at the scene.

Sources told Noozhawk the victim may have been beaten to death, but that could not be confirmed. His identity was not released.

The suspect, whose name was being withheld by investigators, was described as a 26-year-old white male, 6 feet tall and 220 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes, according to an alert sent out to other law enforcement agencies.

He reportedly has tattoos on both arms, and may be armed with a crowbar, the alert said.

He is known to frequent the Santa Barbara area, according to emergency radio traffic, and may be headed to Lancaster.

The man reportedly fled the scene on a bike, but may have later stolen a vehicle from nearby Friendship Lane, across Highway 246 from the Santa Ynez High campus, according to emergency radio traffic.

A blue 2014 Chrysler minivan was reported stolen from that location Saturday morning, and investigators were trying to determine whether it was related to the Jason Way incident.

“This investigation remains active and updates will be shared as they become available,” Zick said.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Tom Bolton, Noozhawk Executive Editor

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at