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O.C. murder suspect dead; real killer found

May 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
In a bizarre twist in an already grisly murder case, police say a Costa Mesa man they suspected of murder has now turned up dead.Crews used cadaver dogs to search for body parts scattered throughout the El Dorado Wilderness Park in Long Beach.

"We're looking for a head and an arm. We've already found one hand and a part of an arm," said Costa Mesa Police Department Capt. Ron Smith.

Police say that those body parts belong to Samuel Herr. The 26-year-old was shot and killed in the attic of a theater on a military base in Los Alamitos.

"[He was] murdered there and dismembered there, and we believe the body parts were brought over here about two miles away and scattered somewhere in the densely wooded area in this wilderness park," said Smith.

Police allege that 26-year-old Costa Mesa man Daniel Patrick Wozniak killed Herr a week ago. They lived in the same apartment complex in Costa Mesa. Authorities suspect Wozniak used Herr's mobile phone to get the victim's 23-year-old friend Juri Kibuishi over to Herr's apartment.

"We believe that after that murder, he lured in Juri Kibuishi and murdered her in Costa Mesa to stage this crime scene that was trying to throw us off the trail," said Smith.

Police arrested Wozniak in Long Beach Wednesday. Authorities suspect that Wozniak stole Herr's credit cards after he murdered him. He used a teenage boy to withdraw about $2,000 from Herr's bank account. Police say that the teen pointed to Wozniak when questioned. The amateur actor allegedly confessed after his arrest.

"He said the motive was clearly just for profit. He was just going to drain out the bank account of Samuel Herr by making withdrawals out of the ATM until he cleaned out the bank account," described Smith.

Wozniak has been charged with two felony counts of murder with special circumstances for the deaths of both Herr and Kibuishi. Both victims were college students, and Herr's father told Eyewitness News that his son was a decorated war veteran who served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

Wozniak is being treated for undisclosed injuries at Western Medical Center. There are reports that he was supposed to be married this weekend.

If convicted, Wozniak faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Wozniak is currently being held without bail. An arraignment date and time are to be determined.

The search for Herr's body parts was called off Friday evening and was slated to resume Saturday morning at the park.

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