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Daily Pilot

Police arrest murder suspect's ex-fiancee

Rachel Buffett, 25, is alleged to be an accessory to murder after the fact.

By Lauren Williams

8:36 PM PST, November 20, 2012

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Costa Mesa police on Tuesday arrested the former fiancee of a man charged in the double murder of an Orange Coast College student and his tutor.

Rachel Buffett, 25, of Long Beach, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of being an accessory to murder after the fact and is being held on $1-million bail, according to Costa Mesa police.

Police said Buffett remained a suspect during the two-year investigation, and said they conducted numerous interviews with her, as well as others connected to the case.

"She was never out of our focus," said Costa Mesa Police Lt. Paul Dondero. "She's always been in focus, along with other aspects of the case."

At the time of the crimes, Buffett and Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 28, lived in the Camden Martinique complex in Costa Mesa, as did slaying victim Samuel Herr, 26.

Police assert that Wozniak killed Herr in the theater of the Joint Forces Training Center in Los Alamitos before dismembering his body and leaving his head and hands in the Long Beach El Dorado Park Nature Center.

In May, a prosecutor from the Orange County district attorney's office presented evidence that Wozniak lured Herr to the military base under the pretenses of needing help to move furniture.

Authorities allege Wozniak killed Herr's friend and tutor, Juri "Julie" Kibuishi, 23, in Herr's apartment, then staged the crime to look like a sexual assault.

Police said Wozniak used Herr's cellphone to text Kibuishi, asking her to come over and talk.

Wozniak reportedly told detectives he was motivated by money. He and Buffett had planned to marry soon.

After Kibuishi's body was discovered in Herr's apartment, Herr became a person of interest for police. Authorities discovered Herr's ATM card was used at locations in Long Beach and found a 17-year-old boy withdrawing cash from Herr's accounts. The boy led police to Wozniak, who was later arrested at his bachelor party in Huntington Beach. He remains in jail and is expected in court again next month.

Police also arrested Wozniak's 38-year-old brother, Timothy Wozniak, this year on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact to the crime.

Dondero said he wouldn't eliminate the possibility of more arrests.

lauren.williams@latimes.com

Twitter: @lawilliams30