Season Finale of Sleuth Drops Bombshell OC Murder Confession

An iHeartRadio true crime podcast with more than 2.5 million listeners

Does Daniel Wozniak, a San Quentin State Prison death row inmate from Long Beach, feel remorse for killing two Orange County college students in 2010?

Were the gruesome crimes the result of a wider conspiracy than prosecutors alleged and who might have unjustly escaped murder charges?

What motivated an investigative journalist to dig for three years into numerous lingering mysteries tied to the ambush homicides of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi?

And, what bombshells did the journalist’s “deep throat” reveal?

These are among the questions pursued in the season finale of iHeartRadio’s popular Sleuth podcast produced by investigative reporter and host Linda Sawyer, who makes no secret that she believes other people should be indicted in the bizarre killings.

Daniel Halkyard—an ordained minister who has known Wozniak for decades and been in routine telephone contact with him—says the inmate has listened to the podcasts without satisfaction.

“He has differences of opinion [about the podcast’s conclusions],” Halkyard tells Sawyer. “The Dan I knew would have apologized and felt bad. But that Dan is gone. The Dan that is in San Quentin is the Dan that belongs in San Quentin. What he did is unforgivable. But his lack of remorse is more unforgivable. It just breaks my heart. I don’t know what he’s hiding. I don’t know who he’s hiding. But I don’t think the total truth has come out. . . He knows the truth. He just refuses to share it for whatever reasons.”

Halkyard’s declarations rang hollow to Scott Sanders, the assistant public defender who represented Wozniak.

“‘Minister’ Halkyard decided he was the person who would convince a death row defendant to speak about the involvement of others in a capital murder case,” Sanders told the Weekly after listening to the podcast. “When Dan thought it was probably not best to speak to Halkyard about these issues, Halkyard tells the world he can divine a lack of remorse. I wonder what fellow ‘ministers’ might think about what Halkyard did.”

Wozniak on the day of his arrest in Costa Mesa

During the show Sawyer said she’d promised anonymity to her “deep throat” source but revealed the knowledge the woman share about the case.

Veteran Sleuth listeners will be startled to learn the source’s information—including an alleged confession—but not who she fingers as one of the uncharged killers.

“I just wanted the public to understand that you’re not always going to get the truth in a courtroom,” Sawyer explains about what helped motivate her in-depth probing that resulted in more than 330 interviews and garnered more than 2.5 million listeners nationwide. “You’re not always going to hear everything that happened in a case from a courtroom or even from headlines or even from broadcast shows like Dateline or 20/20 or 48 Hours. There’s only a limited amount of time they have to tell a story and it’s usually based on the goings on and the happenings  in the courtroom. So, I just thought this particular case—because there was a narrative that it was Dan and Dan alone—that just struck me as not entirely truthful. I felt there was more to the story and if I continued on the path of learning and connecting with other people that were involved, I would get the answers that would flush out what really happened to Sam and Julie, and to expose who else was involved and to what extent.”

One of her conclusions about the once apparently happy-go-lucky community theater actor turned savage killer?

“I think Dan, from a very early age, learned how to live two very different lives—and the dark one took over,” says Sawyer, who discovered Wozniak’s favorite role was in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Go HERE to listen to any of Sleuth’s 22 episodes.

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.

2 Replies to “Season Finale of Sleuth Drops Bombshell OC Murder Confession”

  1. Why was it even called Sleuth?

    When I think of the word Sleuth, what immediately comes to mind is Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot. It’s not like this “journalist” dug up clues for an unsolved case like a modern day Miss Marple.

    This was not investigative journalism, folks. It’s checkout stand tabloid pulp; all giggly gossip.

    Look, I think more people were directly involved in the murders of Sam and Julie (cough* Rachel and Tim *cough), but that’s just an opinion. And, that’s exactly all you’ll get from this podcast: opinions and bitchy gossip. Not just gossip, but the same gossip over and over. So help me, God! If I had to hear Sawyer bring up those damn stolen bridesmaid dresses one more time…!

    Speaking of guests, you get Rachel’s creepy, attention seeking ex boyfriend (with whom the host giggles and guffaws as if they were BFFs) and the former friend of Rachel and Dan, an adult woman who sounds more like a teenager hanging out at the mall.

    Compared to Dirty John or Dr. Death, this is an embarrassingly juvenile attempt at a crime themed podcast. Those fine examples covered years of information in a quarter of the time Sawyer took to repeat her same points on Sleuth.

    At the closing of almost every episode, Sawyer would lure listeners with the promise of an interview with “Deep Throat” – a would be guest with inside information on Rachel Buffet’s involvement in the murders. Unfortunately, “Deep Throat” ghosted Sawyer, leaving this listener disappointed yet again.
    M

  2. You took a long time to deride someone who has worked relentlessly hard on this story. Linda dug up witnesses that no one even knew existed. She got people to confide in her that refused to identify or speak to Police. One took 14 months before they would talk. As for “deep throat” well you for one may never know. How do I know all this? I had the privilege of sharing this journey with Linda. RIP my Dear., Stewie

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