Police search Southern California park for dismembered murder victim's remains
LOS ANGELES – LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities are searching a Long Beach park for the remains of a man killed and dismembered in a bizarre double murder-for-profit plot.
Daniel Wozniak, 26, of Costa Mesa, was charged with two counts of murder Friday for the deaths of his neighbor Samuel Herr, 26, and Herr's friend Juri Kibuishi, 23, just hours before he was scheduled to marry his fiancee in another Long Beach park, said Costa Mesa police Detective Sgt. Ed Everett.
Wozniak, a stage actor who recently starred in the lead role as Guido Contini in the musical "Nine" at the Hunger Artists Theatre Company in Fullerton, is accused of dismembering Herr's body on May 21, leaving his torso at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base and scattering the limbs and head in a Long Beach park. Wozniak's fiancee, Rachel Buffet, starred alongside him in the musical production.
Wozniak is also accused of shooting Kibuishi after summoning her with a text message on Herr's phone, then removing her clothes to fake a sexual assault. Her body was found May 22 by Herr's father.
The motive appears to be financial, police said.
Police detained a 17-year-old boy after he withdrew nearly $2,000 from Herr's bank account, said Costa Mesa police Lt. Bryan Glass. The teen told police he was making the withdrawals for Daniel Wozniak.
Wozniak's father, Daryl Wozniak, said his son was in a coma Friday after trying to commit suicide. Everett said the younger Wozniak was being treated at Western Medical Center, though he did not describe his condition.
Daryl Wozniak said his son had never displayed any signs of violence or of having psychological problems.
"We are stunned," Daryl Wozniak said. "He was an ideal son, he went out of his way to help everybody."
The father said his son stopped accepting phone calls from him about six months ago. Daryl Wozniak did not know why and said there had been no falling out.
"He just disappeared," he said.
Prosecutors have not said if they would seek the death penalty. No arraignment date had been set.
Police said Daniel Wozniak killed Herr in a theater at the military base, then cut off his head, left arm and right hand. The torso was left in a seldom-used part of the theater, while other body parts were taken to a Long Beach park, Glass said. Investigators said Daniel Wozniak told them where to find the torso.
An arm and hand were found Friday as FBI agents and police from Costa Mesa and Long Beach used cadaver dogs to search the park, officers said. Everett said the head was the only body part still missing late Friday.
Two other people, Noah Buffett, 28, of Long Beach and Daniel Wozniak's brother, Timothy Wozniak, were arrested for investigation of being accessories after the fact.
Associated Press Writer Thomas Watkins contributed to this report.
(This version CORRECTS the spelling of Kibuishi on the first reference.)