LINDEN (CBS13) – After 25 days into its excavation efforts of a filled-in well, the FBI team in Linden has not discovered any human remains thus far.
FBI personnel and technical experts have dug to a depth of about 65 below grade within the old well site searching for human remains they believe were discarded there by “Speed Freak Killers” Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog.
The exact depth of the well has not been determined, the FBI said. It was originally estimated at 50 feet, revised to 200 feet and then a Jan. 23 press release from the agency stated “the historic bottom of the well was not located with certainty.”
FBI spokeswoman Gina Swankie clarified in an email to CBS13 on Friday, stating, ” Both those statements are correct. The aquifer (bottom) is at 200 plus (feet), which is not the location of historic aquifer level. In absence of conclusive information about the well … excavation will continue until the team … is sure that a thorough search has been performed.”
“It was made clear at the press conference that kicked off this effort that the team will continue the effort for as long as that takes.”
In a phone recording shared with CBS13, Shermantine told a private investigator the FBI team is excavating the wrong well.
“They are digging about 200, 250 yards beyond that, and, uh, I don’t understand why. I told them from the little bridge to the guard rails and a (inaudible) that runs underneath the road to from there back to the trees is where he has his one killing ground in spots where he would bury people,” Shermantine said, referring to Herzog.
In a prepared statement, Herbert Brown, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Sacramento division, said efforts would continue.
“Despite the risks and challenges, the team involved in this effort remains focused on returning victims home to families,” he said. “The investment of time and resources in this extensive excavation effort was not made in haste or absence of thorough investigation and careful consideration of available information. We thank the public and the many families of the missing who have shown tremendous patience and support while we remain focused on the task at hand.”
This site is the second well site to be excavated along Flood Road. In January 2012, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office excavated a well on an adjacent parcel. Remains of three females, including “Speed Freak” victims Kimberly Billy and Joann Hobson, and one fetus were recovered.
Hand excavation of the current well site began Jan. 17 after the site was cleared and safety devices were set into place.