Authorities: California man admits killing family

California House Deaths

GOLETA, Calif. (AP) — A man stabbed to death his elderly father, then killed his two young sons, his mother and finally the family dog. He then calmly called police to the home on California’s Central Coast and told detectives the killings were his destiny, authorities said Tuesday.

The killings occurred late Monday, and Nicolas Holzer, 45, was taken into custody without incident at the home near the University of California, Santa Barbara, that he shared with his parents and sons, ages 10 and 13. Two kitchen knives believed used in the killings were recovered.

“This is another huge tragedy for our community,” said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, referencing the rampage in May by a gun-wielding man who killed six people and wounded 13 others near the UCSB campus.

Brown said Holzer had no prior criminal history and there were no reports of police being summoned to the home during the seven years Holzer lived there with his parents and sons, Sebastian, 13, and Vincent, 10. He had full custody of the boys following a divorce years earlier, Brown said.

Brown said it was unclear if Holzer had mental health issues. That will be looked at as part of the investigation, he said.

Holzer told deputies he killed his 73-year-old father, William Holzer, before entering a bedroom his sons shared and stabbing them repeatedly while they slept. He then stabbed his 74-year-old mother, Sheila, and the dog, the sheriff said, and “called 911 and in a calm and matter of fact manner told a dispatcher that he had killed his family.”

When police arrived, they found the body of Holzer’s father in the home’s den and his mother’s body in a hallway near the children’s bedroom, Brown said. Holzer told detectives he had killed his family to fulfill what he believed was his destiny, Brown said, without elaborating.

Police said Holzer was being held without bail. No information on a pending court appearance or whether he has an attorney was immediately available.

Goleta is a city of 30,000 residents on the Central California coast about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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