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'Speed Freak Killers' search expands to new Linden well

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POSTED February 16, 2012 8:32 p.m.

LINDEN . (AP) — Investigators found about 1,000 bone fragments in one well and plan to search a second on an abandoned farm near the town of Linden, as they follow leads provided by a serial killer, authorities say.

The expanded search set for Thursday comes after authorities determined they've probably come to the bottom of the first well on the ranch about 12 miles outside of Stockton, San Joaquin Sheriff's Department spokesman Les Garcia said Wednesday.

Crews have been sifting through the well since last week after information was provided by a serial killer who is claiming to disclose the location of long-lost victims.

Officials said about 1,000 bone fragments were found.

Garcia could not provide any new numbers on how many bones or possible victims have been found.

Meanwhile, 65 calls have been made to a hotline set up by authorities for people who believe their loved ones might be among the victims of Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog.

Officials already have identified the remains of two female victims buried on Calaveras County property once owned by Shermantine's family.

Shermantine and Herzog were dubbed the "Speed Freak Killers" after their 1999 arrest. Investigators said the boyhood friends were suspected in as many as 20 murders as a result of a meth-fueled crime spree.

Shermantine has said many more remains could be found at the well, where digging resumed Wednesday after being hampered by rain.

Shermantine is on death row after he was convicted in 2001 of four murders. He is making the disclosures after Sacramento bounty hunter Leonard Padilla promised to pay him $33,000.

Herzog was released on parole when he hanged himself last month after learning Shermantine was disclosing the victims' locations.

 

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