UPDATE: Arrest Made in Suspicious Death on State Street

Authored on
March 14, 2022

The suspicious death that occurred in the first block of State Street this morning is being investigated as a homicide.

Santa Barbara Police Detectives learned of a potential suspect that was in the area where the female victim had been located. The suspect in this investigation was wearing a GPS tracking ankle monitor per the terms of his probation. Detectives were able to utilize tracking software as well as other physical evidence at the scene to link the suspect to this crime.

Detectives were able to use the suspect’s GPS tracker to locate him in the area of 2900 State Street. The suspect was identified as Gabriel Jose Zepeda, a 46-year-old transient that was arrested without incident.

Zepeda was transported to the Santa Barbara County Jail and booked for Homicide (felony) and Robbery (felony). His bail is set at $1,000,000. Detectives also learned Zepeda was recently released from Santa Barbara County Jail on March 10, 2022.

The victim’s name is not being released at this time pending next of kin notifications. This investigation is still active, ongoing, and the cause of death is unknown pending autopsy.  There appears to be no known affiliation between Zepeda and the victim at this time.


SANTA BARBARA, CA – March 14, 2022

On March 14, 2022, around 7:20 am, the Santa Barbara Police Department’s Combined Communication Center received a report about an unresponsive female lying in the parking lot of a business located in the 1st block of State Street.

Officers and paramedics arrived on scene and determined the female was deceased and lifesaving measures would not be effective in attempting to resuscitate her.

During the initial investigation, it was determined this death appeared to be suspicious. Santa Barbara Police Detectives are currently on scene along with police forensics investigating this death. It appears the female victim was homeless and potentially in her late 40s or early 50s.

State Street between Cabrillo Blvd. and Mason Street will be closed to all vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists for multiple hours. We ask the community to please avoid the area.

This is an active investigation, and no other information is available currently.



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