Reporting Andrea Menniti
LINDEN (CBS13) – Crews reached the bottom of a rural well Wednesday where a convicted killer said he and a friend dumped several bodies during a killing spree.
Authorities have already found more than 1,000 bone fragments in the well where convicted serial killer Wesley Shermantine said there might be 10 or more victims from a 15-year methamphetamine-fueled killing spree he and a childhood friend began in 1984.
Crews have been searching the well since Saturday. For the first time in two days, crews were able to use a large excavator to move large amounts of dirt which investigators will sift through for remains and clues.
The bone fragments discovered so far were found 45 feet deep in the well. At 50 feet, investigators hit the deepest part of the abandoned water well and only discovered a few more while sifting through the remaining half dozen piles of dirt scooped today.
“We pulled everything out,” San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Les Garcia said. “There was debris … a washing machine, car parts, pieces of concrete, steal. We brought all that up and once we got past that, we got to human remains and none are below that. There’s no more hole.”
An anthropologist at the San Joaquin County morgue is piecing together remains, and some bones have been sent to a California Department of Justice lab for DNA analysis. But so far skull fragments and bones pulled from the well haven’t been identified.
Shermantine and his childhood friend, Loren Herzog, were called the “Speed Freak Killers” for a methamphetamine-fueled killing spree. It’s unclear exactly how many people they killed but some estimate it could be more than 20.
Garcia says 65 calls have come into a hotline that was set up for family members who believe their loved ones may have fallen victim to Herzog or Shermantine.
Before crews start searching a nearby well, investigators are going to take another look at the map Shermantine sent a local newspaper pointing out where dozens more bodies may have been dumped.
“The maps that we have they had drawings of eucalyptus trees. This second well doesn’t have any of those type of drawings,” Garcia said. “So we need to re-evaluate what we have and see where it takes us.”
Before moving on from the current well, investigators plan to drop a camera down to make sure they haven’t missed any remains.
Remains were also found on property in Calaveras County that was once owned by the Shermantine family.
Tuesday, the mother of one of the Speed Freak Killers known victims was told that some of the remains found last week are definitely that of her daughter, Chevy Wheeler.
According to Sacramento-based bounty hunter Leonard Padilla, her remains were found in the location where Shermantine admitted that 16-year old Wheeler was buried.
Wheeler went missing from Franklin High School in Stockton in 1985, when she told friends she was skipping school to go with Shermantine to his family’s cabin in San Andreas.