‘Speed Freak’ killer says a dozen more bodies are in ‘boneyard’
"Speed Freak" serial killer Wesley Shermantine was briefly taken from death row to help investigators find more victims, and he now says authorities missed the "boneyard" where as many as a dozen more bodies are buried.
Shermantine has drawn maps of where he and late accomplice Loren Herzog buried as many as 20 victims of their drug-fueled murder spree that began in the mid-1980s and terrorized San Joaquin and Calaveras counties for more than a decade.
Earlier this year, the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office excavated an area near Linden and unearthed the remains of at least five female victims and an unidentified fetus.
But now, Shermantine says he has led detectives to the site of more bodies. In a letter to bounty hunter Leonard Padilla -- whom he originally gave a map in exchange for a promise of $33,000 -- Shermantine described his recent outing to Linden.
"Leonard, I went out like I promised I would and showed them four wells," Shermantine wrote. "Three are close up, one is still open. At the trees I showed them where the well is."
Shermantine said they missed the "actual boneyard," the one where most of the bodies are buried.
"I would say there are 12 bodies in that well," Shermantine wrote to Padilla. "I think it's very important that these relatives, the mothers, the fathers, get whatever they can back."
Shermantine is serving a death sentence for four murders. Herzog was originally given a 77-year prison sentence, but it was struck down on appeal and he agreed to a plea deal ahead of a second trial. He was released in 2010 and was living in a trailer near the High Desert State Prison when he got word of Shermantine's cooperation with authorities. Herzog hanged himself in January, a day after learning that any discoveries would probably bring new charges against him and more prison time.
-- Marin Austin, Fox 40 News