Search for Victims: 5 agencies want Shermantine | Crime
MANTECA, CA - A secret law enforcement operation moved convicted serial killer Wesley Shermantine off death row temporarily on Sunday and brought him to the rural town of Linden.
There, Shermantine allegedly pointed to the hidden burial sites of more than 72 murder victims. At least five more law enforcement agencies want to bring Shermantine to their towns in the hopes of finding even more victims of the "Speed Freak Killers."
"I know that the Reno, Nevada police have requested a transport of Wes Shermantine for their own investigation and I'm very frustrated to hear that their first request was ignored and their second request, they were told to use Google Earth Maps," said Assem. Cathleen Galgiani, who wrote the bill to get Shermantine physically out helping investigators.
Galgiani said she wrote a letter to the Department of Corrections on Monday stating the department now has 48 hours to respond to law enforcement requests for Shermantine's help. If not, she will report them straight to the governor.
"This is now the law," Galgiani said. "They must follow the law."
It's speculated that Sunday's excursion with Shermantine was by the FBI. The father of murder victim Cyndi Vanderheiden has long supported bringing Shermantine out to find more victims. Shermantine finally revealed in February after 14 years, the location of Vanderheiden's body.
"I'm not surprised they didn't let me know, because I'm still very angry about what he did to my daughter," said John Vanderheiden, who found out Shermantine was taken to Linden from news reports. "He took my daughter away from me."
Vanderheiden and Galgiani hope the FBI is behind the Linden search and anticipate an excavation of the wells as early as next week.
"I hope the FBI takes over the investigation and does it right this time and removes the bodies without tearing them up into millions of pieces," said Vanderheiden, who is critical of the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office investigation and first excavation of a well in Linden. "The sheriff stalled Shermantine and the recovery of my daughter's body for two months."
"I know some wouldn't understand it, but those two months meant a lot to me," Vanderheiden explained.
For many years, Galgiani had hoped Shermantine could lead detectives to her missing cousin.
"I don't believe at this time that Loren Herzog or Wes Shermantine were responsible for her," Galgiani said. "I think they would have been too young."
Galgiani said she still knows the pain of losing a loved one and the anguish of never knowing what really happened, so she'll continue to fight to get Shermantine to the law enforcement agencies who want to know what he knows.