A 15-year-old girl has been identified as one of three women found dead Monday inside a home in the wealthy California community of Rancho Santa Fe in a mysterious case.
Hannah Arya, the daughter of the home’s owner, Michael Arya, who died of lung cancer earlier this year, was one of three victims of an apparent double murder-suicide, her friends and family tell KFMB-TV.
Mia Shin, a 56-year-old Los Angeles real estate agent and family friend, was identified by her brother as being one of the other victims, the news station reports. A car belonging to Sayeh Amini, 43, Hannah’s aunt and Michael Arya’s sister, was found at the scene, but it has not been confirmed that she died in the house, according to KFMB.
Police have released few details about the incident. They have not named the victims. They have also not said how they died. But police have said they are confident there are no outstanding suspects in the killings.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Neighbor Says Someone Screamed of ‘Don’t! Don’t!’ Before Hearing Pops
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the deaths. Deputies were called to the house, at 17108 Villa De La Valle, Monday about noon after receiving a 911 call reporting “possible child abuse” at the home, the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
“When no one answered, they began to check the perimeter of the home,” Lieutenant Kenneth Nelson said in the press release. “While doing so, they saw through an exterior window an adult female lying on the floor.”
The deputies forced entry into the house to try to help the woman, and found she was deceased with “obvious signs of trauma,” Nelson said. While searching the home, the deputies found two other victims, both females who also had “obvious signs of trauma,” according to Nelson, who did not provide further details about the trauma.
“Based on the initial evidence, detectives do not believe there are any outstanding suspects in this case,” he said.
A neighbor, Angela Bissett, told KGTV she heard a woman yell “Don’t! Don’t!” and then another yell “You son of a b*tch,” before she heard two pops.
Nelson said autopsies will be conducted on the three victims. Police spent several hours at the home investigating, leaving Tuesday morning, KFMB-TV reports.
“We are still trying to confirm relationships and motives,” Nelson told The San Diego Union-Tribune.
2. Hannah Arya’s Late Father Bought the $1.3 Million Home in 2014
Michael Arya, a 58-year-old real estate broker, purchased the house, valued at $1.3 million, in 2014, according to property records.
The house is now owned by the Michael Arya Revocable Living Trust, but it is not clear if he left the home to his daughter.
Arya, also known as Mehrdad Amini Arya, is of Iranian descent, his friends said. He died in April after battling cancer for several months.
“Michael was a walking encyclopedia,” family friend Leyla Kaya told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “And his daughter was his little prodigy.”
Kaya said “she was so smart and she was just full of life.”
Hannah, who had been living in Oregon with her mother since her father’s death, was on vacation visiting extended family in Rancho Santa Fe, her uncle said.
She was staying at her father’s house with Shin, who was acting as a “chaperone” of sorts, Shin’s sister told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“They were going to just relax at the house… ,” Shin’s sister, who did not want to be identified, told the newspaper “I think my sister really appreciated the fact that Hannah wanted to be with her (during her visit). She respected my sister.”
3. Family Friends Say There Was a Dispute Over Michael Arya’s Will Between His Sister & Daughter
Family friends say there was a dispute over Michael Arya’s will between Hannah Arya and her aunt Sayeh Amini, KFMV-TV reports.
Details of the dispute are not known and police have not commented on the reports.
Michael Arya also had a live-in girlfriend, Marina Ryzhkova, who took care of him as he battled cancer, KGTV reports.
His friend, James Zolin, told the news station Ryzkhova was upset that she was not going to be able to live in the home after he died.
“She said she was probably going back to Russia,” Zolin said. “And I said give us a call, come on over and let’s talk but she never did call and I don’t know if she went back to Russia or not.”
KFMB-TV reports that Ryzhkova did go back to Russia and was not one of the victims.
4. Hannah Was a Student at a Boarding School in Arizona, Where She Was Involved in the Equestrian Program
Hannah Arya was a student at the Verde Valley School in Sedona, Arizona, according to KGTV.
The school said she was a well-respected student and was very involved in equestrian riding. She had left the school midway through this academic year to be with her dying father.
Verde Valley’s head of school, Paul Amadio, said in a post on Facebook, “It is with extreme sadness that I share the terrible news I received last evening in regards to our former VVS student, Hannah Arya. She was killed Monday in what appears to have been a double murder-suicide in San Diego. Although not all of the details are known at this time, there is an ongoing investigation into this horrific tragedy.”
Eric Wagner, her uncle, said Hannah had recently arrived in Rancho Santa Fe from Oregon, where she was living with her mother, to visit extended family and friends, for vacation “when her life was taken.”
Amadio said Hannah “is remembered as a great student and friend, and with a passion for horses. … This is heartbreaking for all.”
Hannah is survived by her mother, Susan Wagner, who was divorced from Michael Arya and lived in Oregon. Her school said she has sisters.
Hannah was interested in politics, and posted often on her Facebook page about the upcoming election.
Her mother, Susan Wagner, wrote a Facebook message to Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative author and political commentator, saying her daughter idolized him.
“Hello Dinesh, our daughter Hannah Arya loved your work. She was 15 and she passed away two days ago in an unexpected tragic accident. Every night at while I was making dinner, she would read from ‘Stealing America,’ Wagner wrote. It opened many conversations, including where she stands with her faith in God.
“About a week ago, she put the book down, looked at me and said ‘Mommy, the bottom line is our country has fallen away from God, people have hate and selfishness and we need to learn about God’s love.’ Our family is 100% certain she is with Jesus,” Wagner wrote. “Thank you for your book, it will always be with me, because on the way to the airport before she died, she was reading to me in the car. Your work matters.”
5.Friends Have Remembered Her as ‘Wonderful,’ ‘Loving,’ & ‘Beautiful’
Dozens of friends have paid tribute to Hannah on her Instagram page, leaving messages on her photos, including her final post, a picture with her Michael Arya that she posted on Father’s Day.
“Such a wonderful girl with a beautiful soul. I’m so lucky to have known you and been friends with you when we were young. I cannot believe this tragic news. You will be missed Hannah ❤️ rest in paradise,” one friend wrote.
“You left such an amazing impact on my life hannah. every minute I spent with you was so fun and happy and your smile brightened everyone’s day. we miss you and I know you’re in a better place. rip hannah I love you more than words could ever say,” another friend wrote.
“You are an inspiration to everyone you met, your life was meaningful and you impacted everyone you knew you were an amazing person and no one can take that away 💙 you will be missed,” said another friend.