Man wanted in 1991 murder extradited from United Kingdom
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced Saturday that 62-year-old Wei Miao was extradited from the United Kingdom and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail in connection with the 1991 death of Chung Yu Ping.
The felony complaint and arrest warrant, which were both filed on June 28, 1991, charge Mr. Maio with murder. It is also alleged that he personally used a dangerous and deadly weapon, a hammer, in the commission of the murder, according to authorities.
Mr. Ping’s body was found on June 9, 1991, in a culvert off State Route 1 in Las Cruces near Buellton. Sheriff’s detectives were unable to locate Mr. Miao and believed he fled the country in mid-June 1991, Ms. Dudley said.
According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, Mr. Ping was bludgeoned to death in Los Angeles and his body was found in Santa Barbara County “stuffed in a rural culvert, it’s head covered with a plastic bag.”
“When detectives attempted to contact Mr. Miao in the Los Angeles area, he fled to Tijuana, Mexico, where he obtained a temporary passport from the Chinese Consulate,” authorities said.
It was suspected he made his way to Hong Kong, where a family member was reported to own a bakery shop.
The District Attorney’s Office began the process of requesting Mr. Miao’s arrest and extradition from the UK in 2012 based on information developed by the FBI. On Aug. 20, 2015, Mr. Miao was located and arrested in London by UK law enforcement. Following court proceedings, his extradition was ordered by the UK High Court on July 1 this year.
Throughout the process, the district attorney’s office received significant assistance from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the Crown Prosecution Service’s Extradition Unit, the London Metropolitan Police Service, and the U.S. Marshall’s Service.
Mr. Miao was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail Saturday and is being held on $2 million bail.
He is scheduled to appear for arraignment Monday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria.
— Mitchell White
Woman and child reported missing
LOMPOC — A woman and her 9-year-old son have been reported missing out of the city of Lompoc, authorities said.
Jessica Starcher, 34, and Johan Hucketstein were last seen Wednesday. Family and friends have not heard from Ms. Starcher or Johan for the past several days. Ms. Starcher does not own a vehicle and it is believed a friend may have given them a ride out of town to an unknown location, according to the Lompoc Police Department.
Ms. Stacher is white, 5-foot-4, 150 lbs., with brown hair and hazel eyes. Johan is white, 4-feet tall, weighs 70 lbs. And has blond hair and blue eyes.
Anyone with information on the missing mother and son is asked to contact police by calling 805-736-2341.
— Mitchell White
Sidewalk construction planned this week
SANTA BARBARA — The city of Santa Barbara has announced a construction project will begin Monday on portions of Santa Barbara Street.
Starting Monday, Granite Construction will perform sidewalk concrete improvements, pavement grind, and overlay work on Santa Barbara Street from Gutierrez to Victoria streets.
As a part of the FY20B Pavement Maintenance Project, construction will start on Santa Barbara Street at Gutierrez Street and continue north towards Victoria Street.
Traffic control and temporary delays are expected in the area, including at the intersections of Santa Barbara Street and associated cross streets. Detours will be put in place to minimize the duration of construction and ensure the least amount of disruption to normal traffic flow, officials said.
Although temporary disruptions should be anticipated, access will be maintained for residents and businesses. In addition, no parking signs will be posted at least 72 hours prior to construction, along with detour signs.
Funded primarily by Measure C, Granite Construction was contracted by the city to perform the work. For more information, visit www.SantaBarbaraCA.gov/MeasureC.
— Brian Mackley