FRENCH CAMP (CBS13) — Law enforcement officials met in French Camp on Friday morning and agreed to pursue a search for victims’ bodies in the “Speed Freak Killers” case with the assistance of one of the murderers.
San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore met with representatives from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), FBI, San Joaquin County District Attorney James Willett and Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz to discuss the possibilities of conducting searches for the remains of homicide victims in Calaveras and San Joaquin counties.
Moore, Willett and Kuntz agreed to co-author a letter to CDCR to officially request assistance with the possibilities of working with death row inmate Wesley Shermantine to pinpoint possible burial sites in the near future.
The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement Friday saying, “It is the intent of all agencies involved to recover all of the victims possible to help bring loved ones home to their families while assuring the safety to the citizens of Calaveras and San Joaquin counties.”
Shermantine’s partner in the murders, Loren Herzog, was found hung to death in his trailer outside High Desert State Prison in Susanville late Monday night. Prison officials found Herzog hanging from a bed sheet behind his trailer. Investigators also found a note inside his trailer that read “Tell my family I love them.” The note didn’t contain any information about the murders, investigators said.
Sacramento bounty hunter Leonard Padilla, who has been following the case for years, said he called Herzog prior to his death and told him Shermantine was talking to investigators about locations of the bodies and a “bone yard” that Herzog used to dispose of them. Padilla is offering Shermantine more than $30,000 for the information.
Padilla said he advised Herzog to obtain a lawyer and he speculated Herzog would do something desperate because the new information would send him back to prison.
Herzog was originally sentenced to 78 years in prison on three first-degree murder convictions, but in 2004 an appeals court ruled his confession was illegally coerced. He was then released on parole.
Childhood friends Herzog and Shermantine were drug users who terrorized the Central Valley in a rampage that spanned 15 years in the 1980s and ’90s. During their trials they were dubbed the “Speed Freak Killers.”