Authorities: Slaying of family does not appear to be random

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. | The “horrific” slaying of a practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine, his wife and their 5-year-old daughter in their California home does not appear to be random, authorities said.

The crime was discovered Wednesday when sheriff’s deputies responded to a call for a welfare check on the residence in a modern neighborhood on winding streets just outside Santa Barbara.

After obtaining a search warrant, detectives entered the home early Thursday and coroner’s investigators collected the remains, which were identified as those of 57-year-old Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han; his wife, 29-year-old Huijie “Jennie” Yu; and their daughter, Emily Han, a kindergartner.

County and state forensics teams were brought in to process the scene and autopsies were to be conducted to determine the cause and manner of death.

“Sheriff’s detectives are actively investigating this case and are working around the clock to determine who is responsible for this horrific crime,” Santa Barbara County sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said in a statement. “Early indications are that this was not a random attack.”

The Sheriff’s Office did not immediately release information about what prompted the welfare check or describe the scene.

Han owned and operated the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic since 1991, according to its website, which says he had an extensive background in Chinese herbal medicine and Western medicine and was a co-author of books on the combination of the two traditions.

Han provided traditional treatments including acupuncture, acupressure and herbal formulas from an on-site Chinese pharmacy, according to the website. It also says he came from a family of doctors in China, earned medical degrees in Beijing and studied graduate-level psychology in the United States.

Dr. Glenn Miller, a psychiatrist, who with Han was among three co-authors of a book on ancient herbs and modern medicine, told the Santa Barbara News-Press that Han was “a healer in the truest sense of the word” and a doting father.

The home, built in 2005, was purchased in Han’s name in 2012 for $1.65 million, the newspaper reported.