'Speed Freak Killers': Another search site may hold human remains
As more and more piles of debris and human remains are pulled to the surface from an old well in San Joaquin County, authorities revealed there may be another site holding the remains of victims of the "Speed Freak Killers."
Since the search started last week, workers from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department and the state Department of Justice are sifting through 34 piles of debris. They have found bones, bone fragments, clothing items, purses, jewelry and other items mixed in with trash and other debris.
The remains are reportedly connected to so-called Speed Freak Killers Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog. Shermantine and Loren Herzog were arrested in 1999 for the series of murders that may have spanned more than 15 years and claimed an unknown number of victims.
Heavy equipment has already helped officers dig down about 45 feet. The well was dug in the 1800s, according to sheriff’s deputies, and that has made it hard to find any documentation about its dimensions.
The well owner told investigators he filled the well that is currently being searched and another old well on his property with debris in the mid- to late 1980s in an effort to seal them.
He said at a Wednesday morning news conference that the other well is just east of where they are digging now, near Linden. However, he said they would not move on to that other well site until they finished up their investigation at the first site.
Meanwhile, Shermantine's ex-wife, Sherrie Shermantine, says she believes investigators will find countless remains at the other well nearby. She said her ex-husband called her last year around Christmastime to talk to her and their two sons. It was at that time he told her about finding the remains at the location in Linden.
The couple married in 1988 and divorced in 2003.
"He was very violent. He was very hot-headed," she recalled. "He was into the drugs. When he started smoking the drugs is when it all started going downhill."
During their years together, Sherrie said Wesley never admitted, outright, to the killings. It was pieces of conversations which helped her put "two and two together," she said.
She she often wondered why her own life was spared, considering she often camped in remote locations with her ex-husband and Herzog, places that no one would ever find her if she was killed. She wasn't yet married to Wesley at that time, she said.
"I just don't know why I'm not dead. They're going to find a lot more remains than what they've already found," she said. "But I don't know why I was the chosen one and not to be one of them."
She hopes the victims' families will finally be at peace. "It's affected a lot of people. But they also have to remember, the victims' families are not the only victims."
Shermantine was sentenced to death row for killing four women. Herzog was to receive 77 years to life for three murders, but his sentence was overturned by an appeals court that found his confession to some of the crimes had been coerced.
Herzog served 14 years on a plea deal, was paroled in 2010 and committed suicide two months ago, shortly after a bounty hunter told him Shermantine was going to give the location of the bodies.
-- Fox40 News in Sacramento