Authorities Find Head of Murder-for-Hire Victim

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After searching for several days with the help of cadaver dogs, FBI agents and police officers from the California towns of Costa Mesa and Long Beach believe they have recovered the final body part—the head—belonging to a murder victim.

The severed head was found in El Dorado park, the same place where, on Friday, a severed arm and hand thought to be those of the victim were also recovered. A coroner will determine whether or not the remains match the DNA of Samuel Herr.

Herr’s neighbor, Daniel Wozniak, is accused of shooting and killing Herr in a theater at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base, and then of dismembering his body and leaving the torso in the attic of the theater, where it was discovered on May 21. Authorities are not clear why the two were on the base, although Herr was an Army veteran who had served in Afghanistan.

Wozniak, 26, is also accused of having used Herr’s cell phone to text his friend Juri Kibushi, whom Wozniak then killed at Herr’s apartment. Her body was found there on May 22 by Herr’s father. Both Herr and Kibushi were students at Orange Coast College.

Wozniak, a stage actor, had recently appeared ina production of the musical “Nine” at the Hunger Artists Theater Company in Fullerton, CA. He was engaged to be married to a “Nine” costar, Rachel Buffet, on Saturday—just a day after his arrest.

Police are investigating the possible connection between Wozniak—who, according to friends, had been experiencing financial troubles—and a 17-year-old boy who had withdrawn almost $2,000 from Herr’s bank account. The teen, whose name has not been released because he is a minor, intended to give the money to Wozniak. He is not currently considered an accessory to the murders, but may yet be charged with other crimes.

Wozniak is facing two counts of murder, and will be arraigned by videoconference this week. His father, Daryl Wozniak, said that he had not been able to reach his son in six months. He also said that the younger Wozniak tried to commit suicide after having been arrested, and was treated at Western Medical Center.

Two other men, Wozniak’s brother Timothy Wozniak and Buffet’s brother, Noah Buffet, were arrested for investigation of having been accessories after the fact, but authorities said that neither man was involved in the case, and will therefore not be charged.

 

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