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California man arrested for 'diabolical' murders of doctor, wife, 5-year-old girl

By Doug G. Ware   |   Updated March 25, 2016 at 7:50 PM

SAN DIEGO, March 25 (UPI) -- Authorities in Southern California arrested a man early Friday who they believe was responsible for what they've called call the "diabolical" and "premeditated" murders of an acupuncturist, his wife and the couple's 5-year-old daughter, police said.

The suspect, identified by police as Pierre Haobsh, was arrested just after midnight in San Diego County -- about 200 miles south of where the family's bodies were discovered on Wednesday.

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Haobsh, 27, who will reportedly face three counts of murder, was booked into jail Friday.

Investigators believe Haobsh, an associate of Dr. Weidong Henry Han, may have killed the clinician's family over a contentious business transaction. A full motive is still being explored, officials said, but financial gain could have factored into the three deaths.

The bodies of Han, 57; his wife Huijie "Jennie" Yu, 29; and their daughter Emily Han, 5, were found at their Goleta Valley home on Wednesday after police were called and asked to perform a welfare check on the family. All three had been found shot to death, police said.

"This investigation is far from over. It is complex and ongoing," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

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A loaded 9-millimeter handgun and property belonging to the victims were found in Haobsh's vehicle at the time of his arrest, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

The brutal deaths of the doctor, who ran the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, and his family have shocked the local community.

"This tragic case is a terrible blow to the Santa Barbara community and the medical community at large," Sheriff Brown said. "Dr. Han has an impressive background in Chinese herbal medicine and western medicine."

"Henry helped hundreds of people in this area with his knowledge of Chinese herbal medicine," the city's Community Centered Oriental Medicine said. "A graduate of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, he practiced here for years treating very difficult and complicated illnesses, especially cancer."

The sheriff's office said responding deputies suspected foul play when they arrived to perform a welfare check at about 5:30 p.m. local time Wednesday. Concerned colleagues had called police after Han uncharacteristically failed to show up to a meeting that day.

After obtaining a search warrant the following morning, they entered the home and found the victims' bodies.

"Our community was confronted by the tragic loss of lives due to violence," Goleta Union School District Supt. William Banning said Friday. Emily Han attended kindergarten at Foothill Elementary School, which is part of the Goleta Union district.

"Words cannot begin to express the deep sadness that has overcome us."

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