Reporting Laura Cole
HAYWARD (CBS13) – Results of DNA testing revealed the identity of the commingled remains of Speed Freak Killers’ victims discovered in October.
“I feel for her mom, so bad I can’t even describe it,” said Joan Shelley, JoAnn Hobson’s mother.
The remains of JoAnn were returned to her mother after they were mixed up with other remains. Among them were bones thought to have belonged to 9-year-old Michaela Garecht, who disappeared from her Hayward home nearly 25 years ago.
However, test results identified the remains as 19-year-old Kimberly Billy who was reported missing in December 1984, and found along with Hobson in a Linden well — both victims of the killing spree carried out by Loren Herzog and Wesley Shermantine.
Shelley focused on Garecht’s mother after learning that the bone fragments mixed in with her daughter’s remains did not belong to the missing Hayward girl.
“I was shocked and kind of disheartened about it because I was worried about Michaela’s mom. I want it to be what she wants it to be. I want her to have closure too,” said Shelley.
A report from the Chico Human Identification Lab showed remains given to Hobson’s family “consist of a minimum of three individuals.”
An anthropologist with Chico State University identified one of the individuals as possibly a child ranging from 5 to 14 years old. Because of the estimated age range, and the estimated time the victim was buried in the well, it was speculated the bone fragments were the remains of Garecht.
“When I learned that it was Kimberly Billy, I thought ‘Kimberly Billy’s mom had my JoAnn too,’” said Shelley.
Shelley has mixed feelings, knowing the search only continues for Garecht’s mother. It’s a feeling she understands first hand.
“It’s bringing me back to where I was, and I don’t want to be there,” said Shelley.
The remains of the other 28 unidentified bone fragments will remain with the Hayward Police Department as they continue to work to identify them.
So far in that Linden well, the remains of Hobson, Billy, an unborn child, and another unidentified woman have been discovered.