Reporting Andrea Menniti
LINDEN (CBS13) – Investigators are set to begin searching again for remains of the Speed Freak Killers’ victims.
The search is in the Linden area on Flood Road. The road was closed Monday as the evidence team began its work.
FBI crews are focusing on a well that’s about 50 feet deep near a well previously searched, but agents are taking a much different approach than local investigators the first time around
“It will be a hand-sifting process going on,” Special Agent In Charge Herb Brown said during a press conference Monday in Sacramento. “That will be the first and foremost concern of our investigators.”
The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office was criticized after using heavy equipment during a previous well excavation over concerns about crushed bones and mixed remains.
“The FBI wasn’t present during the last excavation so it’s hard for me to comment or make a comparison,” Brown said.
Now, FBI agents take over the search for victims of so-called Speed Freak Killers Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog, who earned the label after a methamphetamine-fueled killing spree in the 1980s and ’90s.
A thousand bones fragments including the remains of Joann Hobson, Kimberly Billy and an unidentified woman and a fetus were discovered during the last search.
The remains of Cyndi Vanderheiden and Chevy Wheeler were previously discovered in Calaveras County after information from Shermantine led investigators there.
Tips from Shermantine on death row also helped lead investigators to this new well, as well as clues dug up by agents.
“I will tell you this – if you rely on the statement of a convicted killer and only use that information only, that is a perilous path you take,” Brown said, “and we will not take that path.”
Working in the daylight hours, crews hope to excavate five feet a day, a tedious process that will keep the recovery teams out here until at least through next week.
“We hope we find remains and we also realize we may not,” Brown said.
Any remains found from the well will be sent to the FBI lab in Virginia.