Reporting Laura Cole
LINDEN (CBS13) – Crews from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office and FBI are back in the Linden area searching for evidence connected to the Speed Freak Killers.
Bounty Hunter Leonard Padilla’s team received a tip that the killers may have had something to do with the disappearance of Terri Ann Fourcher, a Reno woman who vanished from a hotel back in 1996.
Padilla says during a phone conversation with Wesley Shermantine from death row, he connected Loren Herzog and a friend to the house on Drais Road where the FBI spearheaded the backyard dig, possibly looking for the missing woman’s remains.
“He said there’s a pit it wouldn’t be a far fetched idea that they dumped a body out there and burnt it,” Padilla said Shermantine told him.
Evidence Recovery Teams from the sheriff’s department and FBI are digging on a parcel of private property on Drais Road just south of Linden. They were out at the location Tuesday night and back on Wednesday morning.
Shermantine and Herzog, known as the Speed Freak Killers, went on a methamphetamine-fueled killing in the 1980s and 1990s. Some people believe they could be responsible for as many as 25 unsolved murders.
“We will continue working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the California Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Forensic Services, utilizing whatever resources necessary in the recovery and identification of missing loved ones,” said San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore. “We all have a common goal, bringing them home to their families.”
However, the sheriff’s department says investigators finished digging with no signs of any human remains.
Padilla says a Reno police detective joined the search last month and specialized dogs hit on a spot near the tree in the backyard where the pit was covered a year after the Reno woman disappeared.
Earlier this year, authorities found the remains of two known victims and two suspected victims of the Speed Freak Killers during a series of digs in and around Linden at sites known to be associated with Shermantine and Herzog.
“The intent of all agencies involved is to locate and identify victims so they may be returned to the families who have been searching for them for many years to bring closure and peace. Unfortunately, the credibility of investigative resources is eroding and the hope of finding additional victims is beginning to fade,” said Herb Brown, Special Agent in Charge of the Sacramento Division of the FBI.
Shermantine has been on death row since he was convicted in 2001 of killing four people. He has been talking with officials and media over the last several months, offering to give details about burial sites in return for money.
Herzog was found guilty of three murders but his murder convictions were later overturned on appeal. He was sentenced to 14 years and released in 2010. He committed suicide in January outside High Desert State Prison in Susanville, where he was living in a mobile home after his release.