Sacto 9-1-1
January 14, 2013
Hand digging at well site delayed in search for murder victims

Hand digging at a Linden well site thought to contain the remains of murder victims has been delayed for at least a week to allow for continued site preparation work.

A team searching for victims of serial killers Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog continued its work for a seventh day at the site of a filled-in well on private agricultural land off Flood Road.

The team of FBI personnel and technical experts encountered its first challenge last week while boring the well site to clarify the depth of the well. The initial estimated depth was derived from a variety of comparative data and sources, but the team has not been able to pinpoint the historic bottom of the well with certainty, according to an FBI news release.

Additional equipment employed last week enabled teams to bore deep into the well site in an effort to achieve a clear view of the entire length of the bore cavity. But obtaining a clear view of the soil strata has proved challenging, officials said, adding that work toward excavation will continue.

Careful preparation of the site is essential for excavation efforts to ensure safety of crews, they said, and to provide sufficient access to the well site despite depths possibly 50 feet or more below the surface of the operational area.

Excavation of another well last year in a search of victims of killings in the 1980s and 1990s unearthed more than 1,000 bones and fragments that anthropologists later connected to three victims and a fetus.

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