Article courtesy of Orange County District Attorney’s Office
A Costa Mesa woman was sentenced on Nov. 8 to serve two years and eight months in prison for being an accessory after the fact of a 2010 murder at the Joint Forces Training Base and another Costa Mesa murder.
The court dismissed a third count of being an accessory on Sept. 12, 2018,
Rachel Mae Buffett, who was convicted in September on two counts being an accessory after the fact in the murders of Samuel Herr and Juri “Julie” Kibuishi more than eight years ago.
Buffett was sentenced to serve two years for the first count of being an accessory and eight months for the second count. According to the courthouse website, one third of the eight-month term will be served concurrently with the two-year term.
Buffett must also pay restitution.
The victims’ family and friends gave victim impact statements at the sentencing, according to a statement issued last Friday by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Julie Kibuishi’s mother, June Kibuishi, said, “I will never get to see her fulfill her dreams in fashion, be a bride or a mom… All of these dreams for a mom having a daughter were taken away not just from me but from our family and all of her friends.”
Samuel Herr’s father, Steve Herrsaid, “To know we will never see Sam again, never hear his voice again, and never touch and give him hugs again is a feeling no parent should ever know.”
Herr and Kibuishi were both students at Orange Coast College and Herr was a military veteran.
According to prosecutors, Buffett lied to Costa Mesa Police Department investigators who were investigating the murder of Kibuishi and the disappearance of Herr, who for a brief time was wrongly suspected of Herr’s murder.
Buffett entered a not guilty plea at her Dec. 3, 2012, arraignment. She was released on $100,000 bail on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, but is now in custody according to the Orange County Superior Court website.
Buffett’s former fiance Daniel Wozniak was sentenced to death on Sept. 23, 2017, for murdering Herr and Kibuishi in May 2010. Wozniak and Buffett were scheduled to get married on May 28, 2010, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office
Prosecutors accused Wozniak of murdering Herr to get access to his money and murdering Kibuishi to make it appear that Herr had committed the second crime.
According to the prosecution, Wozniak murdered and dismembered Herr on the grounds of the Joint Forces Training Base, disposed of some of his remains in Long Beach’s El Dorado Park, went to Herr’s Costa Mesa home and used Herr’s phone to lure Kibuishi to Herr’s apparetment, were Wozniak murdered her. For a time, Costa Mesa Police considered Herr a suspect in Kibuishi’s murder.
The case broke when a young man was found in possession of Herr’s ATM card. He reportedly received the ATM card from Wozniak.
According to news reports, Wozniak, an actor, allegedly committed the murders to finance his honeymoon.
Prosecutors accused Buffet of lying to police investigators to help her then-fiance evade arrest.
In 2012, area resident and family friend Fred Cianciolo said he believed Buffett was innocent.
“I have known Rachel all her life and she has been one who was always honest and trustworthy and maybe her biggest fault was being a little too naive and always too trusting in other people,” said Fred Cianciolo, an area resident and friend of the Buffett family.
Crime Log Compiled by Charles M. Kelly
Editor’s note: Information in the Crime Log is based on the information most recently provided by the Seal Beach Police Department.
Saturday, October 20
Burglary Report (Priority 3)—8:30 a.m.—10th Street (Old Town)—The caller said someone broke into the caller’s garage between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Friday, Oct. 19, stole a car and then later returned it. Point of entry: a pried side door of the garage. The keys were in the car in the garage. Police unit 107, responding alone, took a report. Incident response time: 24 minutes 28 seconds.
Burglary Report (Priority 3)—9:54 a.m.—St. Andrews Drive (Leisure World)—The caller said the burglary occurred more than a month prior to the call. Loss: various property in the caller’s home. The caller had phoned police on Oct. 19, but had not be able to wait for officers on that day. The caller provided police with information about a possible suspect. Police unit 106, responding alone, took a report. Incident response time: 7 minutes 40 seconds.
Hit and Run (Priority 2)—11:42 a.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard and Golden Rain Road—The caller reported a collision between a car and a bicycle that was ridden by a boy described as 10 years old. As of 11:45 a.m., the boy was last seen on the west side of Seal Beach Boulevard. He had a boogie board on his bike. The driver was last seen going southbound. As of 11:46 p.m., the caller reported seeing the suspect’s car at or near Pacific Coast Highway. As of 11:47 a.m., the caller said the driver almost had another traffic collision near PCH and Seal Beach Boulevard. As of 11:49 a.m., the suspect’s car was reported on Ocean Avenue. As of 11:49 a.m., the suspects car reportedly struck a truck. As of 11:50 a.m., the driver, a woman, was reportedly stumbling and unable to walk. The caller remained on Ocean Avenue to wait for contact with an officer. Police unit 107 tried to locate the child who was struck, but was unable to locate him. As of 12:04 p.m., unit 107 drove up to Bradbury but could not find the boy. As of 12:33 p.m., police unit M6 had the suspect in custody. As of 12:47 p.m., unit 107 told dispatch that the juvenile who was hit by the car could not be located. As of 12:47 p.m., unit M6 requested a female officer to search the suspect. Some details were blacked out in the log. Police arrested Bonnie Schoor on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. In all, units M6, 107, 447 and S24 responded to the call. Incident response time: 6 minutes 59 seconds.
Petty Theft (Priority 2)—1:12 p.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—The caller said a man in a truck was trying to steal cardboard from behind the store at the location. The caller waited for officers. Police unit 106 responded, with 107 available for back up, but the suspect was gone when police arrived. Incident response time: 8 minutes 58 seconds.
Drunk (Priority 2)—2:29 p.m.—Main Street (Old Town)—The caller reported a woman passed out in a bar. (The name and address of the business were apparently blacked out in the log.) Police units 107 and M6 responded. However, the woman was gone when they arrived. Incident response time: 9 minutes 14 seconds.
Westminster Avenue (Priority 2)—3:04 p.m.—Westminster Avenue—The caller said an older woman wearing pink sunglasses was sitting in a car in the parking lot. The caller and the occupants of several other cars were honking continuously. The caller said this had been going on for 8 minutes as of the time of the call to police. Police unit 107 responded, with M6 available for back up, but she was gone when police arrived. Incident response time: 6 minutes 18 seconds.
Reckless Driver (Priority 2)—3:31 p.m.—Dolphin Avenue and Seal Way—The caller used a cell phone to tell 911 about a car that was on the walk path. The caller said the car was headed toward the pier. As of 3:32 p.m., the caller said the car was possibly off the path. As of of 3:32 p.m., there were no injuries. As of 3:33 p.m., a second caller near the playground said the car ran into the barricades. The driver remained in the car. As of 3:34 p.m., a witness advised police that the car had stopped. The witness apparently speculated that the driver may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As of 3:36 p.m., the driver was reportedly having a seizure. As of 4:03 p.m., police unit 447 requested a tow truck. As of 5:52 p.m., police unit M6 cited and released James Molina on suspicion of drunken driving. In all, police units M6, 107, 447 and S24 responded. Incident response time: 6 minutes 52 seconds.
Misdemeanor Hit and Run Report (Priority 3)—4:17 p.m.—10th Street (Old Town)—The caller discovered that morning that the caller’s car had been hit. A witness reportedly left a note on the car. As of 4:42 p.m., no units were available according to the log. Police unit 241 was en route to the scene at 5:52 p.m. and arrived at 5:56 p.m. Report taken. Incident response time: 1 hour 38 minutes 59 seconds.
Theft Report (Priority 2)—7:20 p.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—The caller said a man ran outside. The caller said the man left the item he apparently tried to steal behind. As of 7:21 p.m., the caller did not need a report. The caller only wanted the police to have the information. As of 7:23 p.m., the man was seen going southbound on Seal Beach Boulevard. The suspect was now shirtless. As of 7:27 p.m., police unit 241 checked on the northbound side of Seal Beach Boulevard but as of 7:32 p.m. was unable to locate the suspect. Police unit 206 responded with unit 241 providing backup. Although the caller had told police a report wasn’t needed, according to the log unit 206 took a report. Incident response time: 7 minutes 14 seconds.
Disturbance, Juveniles (Priority 3)—8:15 p.m.—Avalon Drive (The Hill)—The caller reported two juveniles of unspecified age, last seen going over the gate into the park. As of 8:23 p.m., unit 241 contacted two individuals. According to the log, the individuals were advised/warned/counseled about their behavior. Incident response time: 3 minutes 45 seconds.