Stage actor is arrested in bizarre double murder; park is closed as police look for dismembered body parts
A man arrested in the killing of a Costa Mesa college student and an Irvine woman is an actor who had just wrapped up a nearly month-long performance of the musical “Nine” at the Hunger Artists Theatre in Fullerton.
Police said the suspect, Daniel Wozniak, 27, was scheduled to be married this weekend, but it was unclear to whom.
The bizarre case began Saturday when the body of Julie Kibuishi, 23, of Irvine was found at the apartment of Orange Coast College student Samuel Herr, 26. Costa Mesa police began looking for Herr, believing he had killed the woman.
Costa Mesa police, however, linked Wozniak to the woman's killing after transactions from Herr's ATM card were traced to him. Wozniak was arrested Wednesday night at a restaurant in Huntington Beach on suspicion of being an accessory to homicide. He later was booked on suspicion of murder.
On Thursday, authorities found Herr's dismembered body at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base. Wozniak apparently gained entry to the base by telling guards he had performed at the base theater as an actor.
Authorities allege that Wozniak killed Herr on May 21 and that his body was dismembered. Wozniak allegedly removed Herr’s head, left arm and right hand and discarded them at El Dorado Park in Long Beach. On Friday, portions of the park were closed as authorities looked for evidence, including more body parts. Some of Herr's body parts also were found at the Los Alamitos base theater.
Police allege that Wozniak used Herr’s cellphone to lure Kibuishi to Herr’s Costa Mesa apartment across the street from Orange Coast College, police said. There, he allegedly shot her in the head and staged it as a possible sexual assault, police said. Officers initially though Herr was the killer because they could not find him in the days after Kibuishi was found dead in his bedroom.
Detectives monitoring Herr’s financial activity discovered someone accessed his account through an ATM. When police contacted the person using Herr’s card, a 17-year-old boy, the boy told police he was taking out money for Wozniak.
Wozniak and Herr apparently were neighbors. Kibuishi had both of them listed as “friends” on her Facebook account.
--Paloma Esquivel, Joseph Serna and Christopher Goffard in Costa Mesa
Photo: Daniel Wozniak
Credit: Costa Mesa Police Department