Who are the Speed Freak Killers? See their horrific crimes
In 1984, childhood pals Wesley Shermantine & Loren Herzog from Linden, California became a murderous duo that would soon become known as the Speed Freak Killers. These young men (then nineteen & eighteen years old), were inseparable and did everything together including fishing, hunting, drugs, and a killing spree that lasted from 1984 to 1999.
Shermantine & Herzog shared an addiction to meth becoming the main motivator of their brutal murderous crimes. The affliction with speed is how they received their infamous name, the Speed Freak Killers. There is no official evidence totaling the number of victims they killed.
However, Wesley Shermantine wrote in a letter to a reporter dating back to 2012 that the number of murders is speculated to be seventy-two. Below are a few descriptions of the horrific crimes committed by the Speed Freak Killers and the number of years it took to uncover evidence & bodies of missing innocent people.
Chevelle Wheeler also known as Chevy by friends & family was an average sixteen-year-old teenager ready to go to school on October 7th of 1985. She was dropped off by her mother at Franklin High in Stockton, California. After giving a loving goodbye to her mother, Wheeler decided to ditch school to hang out with Wesley Shermantine in the woods to snort meth.
That was the last day Chavelle Wheeler was seen and the case went cold until 2001. Although both Wesley Shermantine & Loren Herzog were convicted for murder without the bodies, Chavelle’s blood was found inside the Shermantine property located in mountainous terrain San Andreas, California. Chavelle Wheeler’s remains were eventually uncovered on that same property in 2012.
On November 13th, 1998, twenty-five-year-old Cyndi Vanderheiden was last seen at two bars: The Old Corner Saloon & Linden Inn Bar and Lounge both owned by her parents. According to the True Crime Chronicles Podcast, Cindy Vanderheiden was on a date that night and was dropped off at her home.
Her parents heard her car arrive at the house late at night but Cyndi did not enter the home. The podcast explains that they drove to the cemetery that night to snort meth where Wesley proceeded to rape & violate Cyndi before sliting her throat.
Herzog stated he didn’t participate but watched from the backseat. Her body was burned the next day. Her car was later located in a cemetery where her belongings: money, cell phone, and purse were found inside. A few days later, human blood was found in Sharmantine’s car.
Revealing the truth
The authorities had yet to confirm it was Cyndi’s blood in the car, but it was enough to begin an interrogation. Loren Herzog was taken in for questioning that lasted seventeen hours with the police in hopes of getting a verbal statement against Wesley Shermantine. It wasn’t until the 2001 trial of Wesley Shermantine that Loren Herzog unveiled the gruesome details of Cyndi’s murder.
Herzog’s Bone Yard
Wesley Shermantine & Loren Herzog were found guilty for the murders of Chevelle Wheeler, Cyndi Vanderheiden, Paul Cavanaugh, and Howard King. Although the State of Appeals eventually overturns Herzog’s convictions, claiming he was coerced, denied the right to remain silent, and deprived him of food & sleep during interrogation.
Loren Herzog was granted parole in 2010 and released. Soon after, Shermantine began to give more details as to where the bodies might be found in exchange for money. He begins to draw a map as to what Shermantine called, Herzog’s Bone Yard. As a result, Loren Herzog hung himself inside his trailer.
Digging up the dirt
After following the map provided by Sharmantine, the bodies of Chevelle Wheeler, Cyndi Vanderheiden, Kimberly Billy, and Joanne Hobson were found along with countless other fragments of bones, clothes, and jewelry of unnamed victims.
The digging stopped in 2013, the sheriff’s department questioned the reliability of Shermantine’s maps after he refused to continue to cooperate and give further information. Now the police are being looked at with a side-eye in regards to the professionalism & accuracy to which the digs have been conducted.
There is speculation that the police are trying to cover up evidence when emails were found requesting names to be deleted from the federal missing person’s database. In 2018, many of the cases linked to the Speed Freak Killers reopened. Since then, over a thousand bone fragments have been uncovered and linked to the crimes.