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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, California.
More than 170 miles to the south, a 27-year-old suspect was arrested in the San Diego area, police said Friday.
What connected the two men remains largely unclear. Authorities said only that the two were recently involved in a business deal, and that financial gain could have been involved in the slayings.
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. Investigators with an arrest warrant had been following a red Lexus that belonged to him, Brown said. 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.
Their bodies were found shot, wrapped in plastic and duct-taped in the garage, a sheriff's statement said. They had last been seen the night before they were found.
"This investigation is far from over," Brown said. "It is complex and ongoing."
Two business associates of Han went to his home after he failed to show up for a meeting — something they told authorities was highly uncharacteristic of him. The associates called authorities when they found the front door ajar and the family's cars parked outside.
Authorities didn't say what led them from the palatial two-story home that sits on 7 acres surrounded by avocado trees to the Oceanside area, where Haobsh was arrested.
Haobsh is a U.S. citizen, authorities said, but few other details about him were released. No relatives, friends or an attorney who could comment were found in an initial search by The Associated Press.
The killings shocked Santa Barbara, where Han, who owned and operated the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, was a popular figure.
The couple's daughter was a kindergartener at Foothill Elementary School in the Goleta Unified School District, where counselors were made available to her classmates and their parents. "It is impossible to express the tremendous pain that this situation presents to us," Superintendent William Banning said in a statement.
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.