I’ve been getting some really insightful questions from commenters who listened to the Sword and Scale podcast. Margie W and Liz G brought up some interesting points, and each asked great questions that often overlapped.
I’m going to answer some of the questions now… but some will have to wait for the book.
Q: Did Noah and Nate (Rachel’s older brothers) know Dan had borrowed tools from their apartment?
At the time of Sam Herr’s and Julie Kibuishi’s murders, there were five Buffett family members living in that converted office space. It’s likely someone saw Dan borrowing the saw and ax, especially since he didn’t try to hide the fact. Dan has said Noah was present when the tools were returned, and Noah learned at some point how the tools had been used.
Q: The day Sam Herr was murdered, Dan Wozniak firmly believed Sam and Rachel had an affair. He learned this information from Rachel one week earlier. Was jealousy a contributing factor to both Sam’s and Julie’s murders?
Q: Was there jealousy toward Julie Kibuishi from Rachel Buffett?
I’m going to quote reader Liz G:
“Dan’s downfall was very likely the fact that Julie got murdered.”
In other words, he may never have been caught if Sam had been the only victim.
I have my own opinions on that:
I think she felt she had to wait out a couple of months just to make sure Dan wasn’t going to tell the police anything about her own involvement in the murders. It looked to me like she jumped ship when she felt secure in Dan’s decision to continue to protect her. However, Dan has his own opinion, and it’s more entertaining. He suggested Rachel may have found a sex tape that Dan made with his ex-girlfriend while engaged to Rachel.
Side Note For Rachel Buffett…
Happy belated birthday! I’m guessing it was much more enjoyable than the one you spent behind bars. I apologize for being one month off when I sent you the birthday card at the OC Jail.
Rachel, if you are at all interested in giving me your side of the story, and you believe Dan is being untruthful, please allow me to interview you.
Q: Why did you make the title of the blog a question?
I added the “?” on the title because a close friend kept begging me to change the name. She was worried about some of the meaner comments I’ve received over the years.
I am aware that calling Daniel Wozniak my friend has caused a lot of anger.
I did not expect people to wish for my death.
Still, I originally chose the title because I knew it would grab people’s attention when they searched the case of Sam’s and Julie’s murders. It has.
But after thinking it over, I realized my friend was right about the blog’s title possibly upsetting people so much they don’t actually read the blog. I’m hopeful the “?” shows that I am asking important questions.
I’ve debated with myself on the title of the book. Same as the blog’s name? With or without a “?”
Q: When will the book be released?
I’m just not sure. I work on the book like it’s a full-time job, but a lot depends on my next panic attack (regarding my own anxiety about putting out the best book possible). Also, my kids are home all the time because of the pandemic, so my writing does get interrupted often.
No worries though; I am motivated! I am lucky that, unlike so many people during this pandemic, I’m not having any financial issue to keep me from writing.
It means a lot to me when readers tell me they are excited about reading my book. I also really appreciate compliments about my writing (more than you know.)
I’m so glad I started with the blog first. It has taken some time, and numerous experiments, to figure out just how to tell you all Daniel’s version of the events leading to the murders, but still show that I’m questioning and analyzing his words like we True Crime lovers do.
You readers and I are going to delve into his story together. I honestly find a lot of credibility in what he’s told me. But it’s all very complicated.
A good example is what Dan has told me about Chris Williams.
If you recall, Chris was an extremely important witness in both Dan’s and Rachel’s trials. He was Rachel’s alibi for Sam Herr’s murder.
According to Daniel, the money borrowed from Chris Williams was for the purpose of buying ecstasy and Oxicontin, and Chris was waiting around all afternoon because he wanted to pick up a purchase. That’s how Daniel tells it.
Daniel also claims Rachel didn’t tell the Costa Mesa Police about her own alibi because she didn’t want to admit to a drug deal. This is just one extra branch on the tree of Daniel’s story that wasn’t brought up in trial at all.
So… how much of the story Daniel has told me will you guys choose to believe once you’ve heard everything?
Side note for Chris Williams…
It would be amazing if you’d let me interview you. Don’t worry, you don’t come off as a bad guy in Dan’s story at all, but he does have you included in drug using and purchasing.
Q: Is the blog and the book you’re working on a collaboration with Daniel Wozniak?
The book is in no way a collaboration with Daniel. I don’t share my work in progress with him at all.
There are places in the book when I’m recreating conversations Daniel told me he had with Rachel, Julie, and Sam. I have occasionally sent him early drafts of those pieces to confirm that I’d grasped the gist of what happened.
However, we both agreed early on that he would answer my questions, but have no involvement in what I write. He has absolutely no editorial or “veto” power.
There are numerous quotes included. I believe readers will appreciate the opportunity to hear some of this story in his own words.
I do actually feel like Daniel is a real friend to me. Even a good friend. I also believe this person isn’t the same man he was in 2010.
I’m not saying, “Oh he’s changed. He deserves to be free.” That wouldn’t be fair. It wouldn’t be justice. I’m sure some of you will doubt my sanity, but without Rachel Buffett in Dan’s life, I don’t believe he is dangerous in any way.
I don’t feel like I can say the same about Rachel Buffett. She could probably find any man to help her be dangerous.
Q: Why did Rachel ask, “Did you kill them?”
Yes, Rachel Buffett did ask Dan Wozniak if he killed “them” when she spoke to him on a recorded telephone conversation from the Orange County Jail. This was before Dan confessed, and before he dropped the bombshell that Sam Herr had also been murdered. Rachel found out about Sam’s killing as soon as Dan arrived back at their apartment, and Chris Williams had left.
There has been a surprising amount of interest in my hair color change. I actually find it kind of funny for a number of reasons.
- I’m a natural blonde. My real hair color is slightly redder than the current color, but when my roots show, it’s difficult to see much of a difference.
- I lived as a blonde for many years before Rachel Buffett was even born.
- My hairstylist is my really close friend. Going back to blonde was completely her idea. I took some convincing actually. I was worried that I’d look like a member of the Malfoy family. She now thinks it’s hilarious that my hair color has sparked such interest.
- My husband and my kids really like the blonde.
I really haven’t taken this “criticism” with much offense, but it’s nice that some readers were worried about my feelings.
Here is a groovy picture of me and my older brother that was obviously taken before Rachel Buffett was born in 1987.
Hopefully, that will put an end to all the silly rumors.
Have any of you watched the HBO docuseries I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, about Michelle McNamara’s book on the Golden State Killer?
McNamara’s book is so beautifully written, but she didn’t live to see it published.
I find this story so heartbreaking, especially for her young daughter and her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt. The whole situation resonates with me in a way. She was writing a book about terrible crimes, but in the telling, she was also part of the story.
The HBO series focuses a fair amount on Michelle’s anxiety and stress about her writing the best book she could write. I feel rather connected to her overall story. I actually got to meet Patton Oswalt before his show at the Irvine Improv, because he likes my husband’s art. He was extremely friendly and welcoming. He also blew my mind when he did a bit onstage about his True Crime-obsessed wife. I remember feeling very simpatico with their lives.