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FloodRd_Search_8252_speed_freak_killers.JPGAssemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani is proposing legislation that would require California taxpayers to pick up the tab for a gruesome multicounty search for victims of the "Speed Freak Killers."

Searches have been under way in Calaveras and San Joaquin counties. The tab in the latter hit $90,000 last Friday, said Galgiani, whose bill also will seek reimbursement for any DNA testing done.

At separate San Andreas sites, bone or other remnants have been found of victims Cyndi Vanderheiden, 25, who disappeared in 1998, and of Chevelle "Chevy" Wheeler, 16, who was reported missing in 1985.

Officials also have uncovered hundreds of human bones at one San Joaquin County well site and have been told of two other well locations by convicted killer Wesley Shermantine of the "Speed Freak Killers."

Shermantine and his partner, Loren Herzog, are suspected of serial murders in decades past.

Shermantine, who remains on death row, was convicted of four murders. Herzog was found guilty of three killings, but his conviction was overturned on appeal and he later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Paroled last year, Herzog hanged himself inside his trailer last month.

"Certainly no one could have anticipated this happening," said Galgiani, D-Livingston, said of the wide-ranging search for bodies.

The tab is particularly onerous to Calaveras and San Joaquin counties because it comes at a time when California's economy has been weak, said Galgiani, who said total costs could reach $500,000.

State taxpayers have an interest in the case because nobody yet knows how many murder victims there are, where their families are located, or how many counties will be affected, Galgiani said.

Elected to serve portions of San Joaquin County, Galgiani said she will amend an existing bill in the Senate to contain the reimbursement language. She has not yet finished crafting the measure, she said.

PHOTO CREDIT: San Joaquin Sheriff detectives Paul Hoskins, left, and Lindsay Smith sift on Feb. 12 for remains excavated from the abandoned well in the background that is believed to be a burial site of "Speed Freak Killers" Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog. Craig Sanders / The (Stockton) Record.


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