LOS ANGELES (AP) — A popular practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine was found shot to death and wrapped in plastic along with his wife and 5-year-old daughter in their palatial two-story home in upscale Santa Barbara County. More than 170 miles to the south, a 27-year-old suspect was arrested in the San Diego area.
Investigators were exploring the links between the two men on Saturday, which would have been the little girl's sixth birthday, authorities said. The two men were recently involved in a business deal, and financial gain could have been a motive in the slayings, authorities said.
Pierre Haobsh, 27, of Oceanside was taken into custody at gunpoint at a gas station in San Diego County, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bob Brown said Friday. A loaded handgun and property belonging to one of the victims was found inside the car, the sheriff said.
Deputies who went to check on the welfare of 57-year-old Dr. Weidong "Henry" Han on Wednesday found the bodies of the physician, his 29-year-old wife, Huijie "Jenni" Yu, and the couple's 5-year-old daughter, Emily Han, in the family's multimillion-dollar home on the outskirts of Santa Barbara. They had last been seen the night before, and two associates had been alarmed when Han failed to show up for a meeting.
Haobsh is a U.S. citizen, authorities said, but few other details about him were released.
Nadine Jolie Courtney, a beauty blogger and author, told The Associated Press in an email message Saturday that Haobsh was her brother. She condemned the killings and extended her prayers to the Han family.
"We cannot wrap our minds around this tragedy and are in a state of shock," she wrote on behalf of herself and her husband.
The killings shook Santa Barbara, where Han, who owned and operated the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, was a popular figure.
Han had owned and operated the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic since 1991, according to the clinic's website. Public records show he is a licensed acupuncturist.
A biography on his website says he earned degrees in Oriental and Western medicine from a Beijing university in 1982, graduating at the top of his class. He moved to the U.S. a few years later to study psychology.
Han came from a family of Chinese doctors and provided traditional treatments including acupuncture, acupressure and herbal formulas from an on-site Chinese pharmacy.
He is co-author of the book "Ancient Herbs, Modern Medicine," and he was working on a volume about how to integrate Chinese and Western medicine. At the clinic, he created individualized herbal formulas for each patient that were filled at an on-site pharmacy.
Associated Press writer Amy Taxin contributed to this report from Tustin, California.