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'Speed Freak Killers': Search for remains in well hits bottom

February 16, 2012 |  8:55 am

Investigators searching for human remains connected to the "Speed Freak Killers" at an old well in San Joaquin County say they've gone as far as they can -- 50 feet underground.

Since the search started last week in the town of Linden, investigators from the local sheriff’s office and the state Department of Justice have been sifting through 34 piles of debris. They have found bones, bone fragments, clothing fragments, purses, jewelry and other items mixed in with trash and other debris.

Investigators are looking for victims of the so-called Speed Freak Killers, Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog, who were arrested in 1999 for a series of slayings that may have spanned more than 15 years.

Deputy Les Garcia of the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Department said "very little" remains have been found in the last few piles brought to the surface, Fox40 News in Sacramento reported.

Garcia said there was a well on another property that might also be associated with the case.

Investigators hope to use a camera to see the bottom of the 50-foot hole.

Deputies announced Tuesday that they had preliminarily identified a set of remains found at a related dig site in Calaveras County as Chevelle Wheeler, reportedly one of the killers' victims.

Wheeler’s remains and those belonging to another victim, Cyndi Vanderheiden, were found on property near San Andreas that once belonged to Shermantine’s family.

Shermantine was sentenced to death 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 and was paroled in 2010. He committed suicide two months ago, shortly after a bounty hunter told him that Shermantine was going to give the location of victims' bodies to authorities.


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-- Sam Cohen and Ian McDonald, Fox40 News