Huffpost San Francisco

'Speed Freak Killers': More Bodies Found At Northern California Ranch (VIDEO)

Posted: Updated:
The Record / AP

LINDEN, Calif. -- The search for more human remains in what appears to be a mass grave used by two men known as the "Speed Freak Killers" was suspended because of rain Monday, a day after authorities unearthed hundreds of bone fragments.

The grisly discoveries were made at an old well near the rural Northern California town of Linden. Death row inmate Wesley Shermantine had claimed the well could hold 10 or more victims from a killing spree during the 1980s and 90s.

Along with bones, searchers dug out clothes, a purse and jewelry, on Sunday. The items were found 45 feet deep in the well on an abandoned cattle ranch, San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department spokesman Les Garcia said in a statement.

Investigators, public works employees and volunteers have found more than 300 human bones and had planned to resume the search Monday, Garcia said.

Searchers will resume digging and sifting through the dirt and cataloguing their finds Tuesday, weather permitting, he said. The search is going at a "slow and tedious" pace and is expected to last several more days, Garcia said.

Meanwhile, the sheriff's department has set up a telephone hotline – 209-468-5087 – for people who suspect their loved ones fell prey to the killers.

Investigators can also be emailed at coldcase(at) The department on Monday asked that email messages include names, phone numbers, the name of the missing person and case number.

Sunday marked the fourth straight day that remains were found with the help of a map prepared by Shermantine, who along with childhood friend Loren Herzog became known as the "Speed Freak Killers" after their arrests in 1999. The map led to burial locations in San Joaquin and Calaveras counties.

Shermantine was convicted of four murders and sentenced to death.

Herzog was convicted of three murders and sentenced to 77 years to life in prison, though that was later reduced to 14 years. An appeals court tossed his first-degree murder convictions after ruling his confession was illegally obtained.

Herzog was paroled in 2010 to a trailer outside the High Desert State Prison in Susanville. He committed suicide outside that trailer last month after Sacramento bounty hunter Leonard Padilla told him Shermantine was disclosing the location of the well along with two other locations.

A piece of a human skull and bones found Saturday at the San Joaquin County well will be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice in the hopes of identifying them through DNA testing, Garcia said.

Dental records identified remains found Thursday in Calaveras County, near property once owned by Shermantine's family, as those of 25-year-old Cyndi Vanderheiden, who disappeared in 1998.

Another set of remains was found Friday in the same area, and the parents of 16-year-old Chevelle "Chevy" Wheeler, who disappeared in 1985, said authorities told them that's where their daughter was believed to be buried. Paula Wheeler also said investigators told her the remains were clad in the same clothes she remembers seeing her daughter wearing the day she disappeared.

Around the Web

More remains found in Calif. with killer's help - US news - Crime ...

California Speed Freak Killers

The Speed Freak Killers — Herzog Continues Implicating His Friend ...

Remains Found of Possible Speed Freak Killers' Victims - ABC News

'Speed Freak Killer' was paid $33000 to guide search for victims ...

“Speed Freak Killers” « CBS Sacramento

Wesley Shermantine, 'Speed Freak Killer,' Gives Tip That Leads To ...

Search for Speed Freak Killers' victims may begin soon

What's going on: Serial killer points police to more bodies in ...

Should Cops Search For New 'Speed Freak Killers' Victims ...

'Speed Freak' killer's disclosures bring both peace and turmoil

'Speed Freak Killer' Got $33K to Tell Where Bodies Were

Bounty hunter fears he prompted suicide of 'Speed Freak Killer'

Searchers hope serial killer keeps word to locate graves after Calif. sheriff ...

Missing Hayward Girl Could be Victim of "Speed Freak Killers"

Search for Speed Freak Killers' victims may begin soon

Officials Talk About Search for "Speed Freak Killers" Bodies

Remains in Calif ID'd as serial killers' victim

Serial killer's tip leads to remains of 2nd body

Timeline: 'Speed Freak Killers' Case