Investigative Journalist Linda Sawyer Who Explored Bizarre SoCal Double Murder Passes

 

Linda Sawyer (middle) with her precious twin daughters

About a week ago, I sat in a Huntington Beach restaurant booth with Linda Sawyer, an Emmy Award winning investigative journalist, without knowing my 57-year-old friend had days to live.

We’d met to discuss her murder case projects around the nation—some of which she wanted my assistance—and this onetime producer and writer for the likes of HBO, PBS, CBS and Dr. Phil told me about her upcoming outpatient surgery.

Everyone who knew Sawyer appreciated her sense of humor, loyalty and toughness. As the iHeartRadio producer of 2018’s Sleuth, she explored what she believed were the mysteries surrounding one of Southern California’s most bizarre double murders in People v. Daniel Wozniak. The podcast earned 2.5 million listeners nationwide.

After informing me of her upcoming surgery, Sawyer reached across the table, grabbed my hand gently, told me she worried something would go wrong at the hospital and thanked me for my friendship.

Tears formed in her eyes and she spoke about the most important part of her life: the daughters she cherished.

The situation startled me. She outwardly looked great and voiced so many plans. (Hell, she pushed me to be more aggressive in my own projects!) Her forte had been reporting stories she felt would be lost in the criminal justice system without reporters digging.

I assured her she’d be okay. She tilted her head to the right and smiled. After moments of silence, she handed me a gold key to a box she said contained important investigatory documents in case she wouldn’t be able to retrieve them.

“What?” I asked.

She replied, “Just take it.”

The next day I received a message.

“I want you to know I truly love you [as a friend],” Sawyer wrote. “In such a short time you have become so very dear to me. I don’t even know if you realize how much you mean to me.”

Early on Feb. 10, Sawyer passed away in a Santa Monica hospital.

CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; earned six dozen other reporting awards; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; featured in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.

15 Replies to “Investigative Journalist Linda Sawyer Who Explored Bizarre SoCal Double Murder Passes”

  1. Hi Scott…I’m in shock and deeply saddened by Linda’s passing. During our mutual get together two weeks again at Muldoon’s I was so happy to meet you and to see Linda so excited for her second season of Slueth, which she was planning. We talked of my visiting her back east when she got settled and like you, I had no idea that as a result of such a ‘simple’ outpatient procedure, that Linda could lose her life. I’m saddened beyond belief. My love and thoughts are with Niki and Nila….

    1. Thank you for this, Scott! I was honored to be able to interview her for the final episode of Sleuth. She was extremely caring and gracious, and I was happy to call her friend! I learned about her passing as I was driving cross-country yesterday and it was like a punch in the gut! I spoke to her regularly and for her to press away at such a young age, I was in shock.

      Please do what you can to keep her legacy alive!

  2. I can only imagine how shocking and difficult this was for you. I did not know about either of you before Sleuth so I’m grateful to have discovered both of you.

    I am following you on Twitter and hope to read more of your work in the future.

    Very sorry for your loss. You must be grateful she expressed her feelings to you. She must have known or suspected something. 🙏

  3. Linda was such a vibrant and vivacious personality, it is so very sad to hear of her passing, and worse to hear she had premonitions of this terrible outcome.

    Linda, you can rest easy now…you did everything that you could possibly have done to shine light into the dark corners of the people involved in the murders of Sam & Julie with Sleuth.

  4. My condolences to you & her family. Why is it the good guys are taken away from us and the bad guys get the privilege of staying here. 😢😢

  5. I am very sad to see this. I just finished binging on the Sleuth season about Daniel Wozniak. What a wonderful investigation Linda did.

  6. So sorry to hear this , Linda was a terrific talented producer and investigative journalist . I was so happy that her new project podcast was doing so well . My condoloaces and thoughts to her family and especially her daughters .

  7. I am terribly saddened by the news of Linda‘s passing. I was very close to her when she lived in Piermont and supported her through her Unjust
    Situation. Linda was always honest hard-working and completely genuine. I tremendous loss to her daughters her family and you. I can only hope she had found happiness in California As she really deserved it she was a wonderful mother to her daughters always putting them first. Please let me know if there will be a service on the East Coast. Heartfelt sympathy and condolences do not express my sadness.

  8. I am shocked and deeply saddened by the news of Linda’s passing. She was a great lady with so much life in front of her still to be lived. She will be dearly missed.

  9. Whoa, very sad to see. I am curious, however, what surgery she was going to have, and the fact that she knew she might not make it?

  10. I am absolutely stunned, I spoke with Linda, February 3rd. She was wishing me well for my upcoming surgery. I had no idea she was ill herself. I am deeply saddened to hear of her passing. RIP Linda.

  11. Just finished last episode of sleuth and found this by accident What an unfortunate ending for such a warm intelligent loving person that I only got to know through this podcast I hope her work in this case will not be forgotten and that the justice she wanted for the victims families will be served rest in peace ms sawyer

  12. There was one woman who made me believe I was better than the current situation I allowed myself to be in. As a survivor of domestic violence, Linda encouraged me to stand my ground, ask for help, and surrender old ideas. She checked in with me daily. With her uncanny way of being persistent Linda helped me build the confidence to take action vs responding in fear. I am the EX girlfriend of Daniel Wozniak’s brother Tim. The unrelated DV cases that are spoken about…that woman was me. Linda was the voice I needed to speak and to be heard. For the first time I had a fighting chance to make a difference when the legal system isn’t your advocate.
    Linda’s physical self may have passed but she branded her legacy and it will live on thru those she poured so much of herself into. Her energy and spirit resides as if she has REALLY taken me under her wing now! I feel a sense of serenity knowing that her love and gratitude is far more abundant and will continue to live through those who carry on the experiences and memories that were created with such a wonderful woman. Thank you Scott for sharing that photo because that was always her happiest place to be….between her two angels!

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