View Mobile Site

Sheriff addresses possibility of comingled bones in Shermatine murder dig In Linden

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED October 15, 2012 1:21 a.m.

The possibility of the comingling of murder victims’ bones unearthed in a well dig in Linden in the “Speed Freak” Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog series of murders was addressed by San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore at a press conference Friday.

Moore said he was advised last Wednesday afternoon that a report by Dr. Eric Bartelink of the California State University Chico Anthropology Department had indicated that there were possibly comingled bones among those identified as Ms. Joann Hobson and released to the P.L. Fry Mortuary in Manteca.

The sheriff said he wanted to express his deepest sympathy to the families of the murder victims in the case as he felt they had suffered for decades for crimes committed against their loved ones.

“In this unprecedented excavation of the well in Linden, we did ask for the assistance of the California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services in excavating the well and recovering any remains and evidence,” Moore said.

The sheriff said he received a full report on Thursday on the reconstruction of the skeletons and subsequently requested that the California Department of Justice and Miller-Antonio-Antonio review the report and provide a comparison to their original reports to the office of the Sheriff/Coroner which is still forthcoming.

“We are also awaiting the results of the DNA analysis listed in Dr. Bartelink’s report,” he said.  “Once the remains were recovered they were taken to the Forensic-Anthropologist Dr. Miller-Antonio at Stanislaus State University for examination and determination of the number and types of victims based on the skeletal remains.”

The reconstructed skeletal remains were confirmed to be three young females and one fetus that had been recovered from the well, he told the media.

Moore said that Cal DOJ Bureau of Forensic Services provided direction as to which bones should be submitted for DNA analysis and they were taken to their lab for development of DNA profiles and matching.  The results reportedly identified Ms. Joann Hobson and Ms. Billie.  The third female was not identified as there was no matching profile in the State and National Familial databases, he said.  The third profile, however, was preserved for future identification.

A sample of fetal bones was also subjected to testing for a DNA profile, but it could not be developed, the Sheriff noted.   Once the identifications had been made on the two females, the individual reconstructed skeletal remains that had been laid out by the forensic-anthropologist were then packaged and taken to the San Joaquin County Morgue where they were processed separately for release to the families, Moore added.

It was in March of this year that the Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from the FBI to conduct any and all future excavations involving the case.  The FBI via Sacramento Supervising Special Agent Herb Brown accepted the request for aid with the Sheriff providing logistical support.

The Sheriff’s office,  in conjunction with the FBI,  has met with multiple other law enforcement agencies who were investigating cases they believed were associated with the Shermantine and Herzog murders.  During those meetings information regarding their cases were shared and will be a basis for continued investigations with them in the future.

“It is and will remain the goal of this office to recover and identify any and all victims related to this case and provide closure to their families,” Sheriff Moore stressed.

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...