'Speed Freak' serial killer victim remains discovered
Authorities believe a skull and teeth found Thursday on the property of convicted killer Wesley Shermantine, known as Speed Freak Killer, in San Andreas belong to Cyndi Vanderheiden, who was long a suspected victim.
Investigators used dental records, including charts and X-rays, and a forensic odontologist says the remains belong to Vanderheiden. The remains will now be submitted to the California Department of Justice for DNA analysis for further identification confirmation. Officials say the skull and teeth found Thursday were partially buried on the side of an embankment.
Fox 40 TV news channel in Sacramento spoke with Terri Vanderheiden, Cyndi’s mother, after the skull was found.
“These families have for years been waiting to bring their loved ones home. … The whole goal was to bring loved ones back to their families,” said Les Garcia, with the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Department.
There were three searches going on simultaneously Friday: two on the Shermantine property in San Andreas, about 30 miles east of Stockton, and a third search on a property in Linden, in San Joaquin County.
Deputies from San Joaquin and Calaveras counties searched the Shermantine property last month, then returned Wednesday and found the partial skull Thursday morning with the help of cadaver dogs.
-- Sam Cohen, Fox 40 Sacramento
Photo: The site where a skull and teeth were found in San Andreas. Credit: Fox 40 Sacramento