Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog define the concept of dark-triad serial killers. Both born in 1966, grew up as childhood friends in the rural town of Linden in California’s central valley.
The duo fed their evil with methamphetamine. Herzog was the lower I.Q. flying monkey of the two in their murder sprees between 1984 and 1999. The two were notorious rapists, sodomizers, bullies and “bad ass” troublemakers in their community. They “got away with murder” early on in life, which, combined with meth, only exacerbated their feeling of God-like invincibility. They were habitual liars of the black magik mold. They went on to killing with impunity during the next 15 years.
Other serial killers with flying-monkey sidekicks:
Numerous witnesses testified that they had been brutalized by Shermantine. Five different women testified he had violently raped or sodomized them, including a baby sitter who said she had been attacked when she stopped by to collect money he owed her. The sister of Shermantine later revealed she was raped by the two.
One woman said he had rear-ended her car, then kidnapped her at knifepoint when she pulled off the road to exchange insurance information. She jumped from his car while it was moving and managed to get away.
Shermantine’s estranged wife described how he had brutally beaten her for years, hitting her while she was pregnant and while she was holding their children in her lap.
The killers randomly targeted Howard King and Paul Cavanaugh – each were shotgunned in their car in 1984.
Shermantine was convicted in the deaths of 16-year-old Chevelle “Chevy” Wheeler, who disappeared in 1985 while skipping school at Franklin High School. Shermantine was suspected in Wheeler’s death for over a decade, but was not arrested until 1999, when DNA tests revealed blood found in his hunting cabin was hers.
Herzog described to police a time when Shermantine shot a hunter that they ran into while they were on vacation in Utah in 1994. Utah police confirmed that a hunter was shot to death, but his murder was still classified as unsolved.
Herzog also said Shermantine was responsible for killing Henry Howell, who was found parked off the road on Highway 88 in Alpine County with his teeth and head bashed in. Herzog said he and Shermantine passed Howell parked on the highway and Shermantine stopped, grabbed Howell’s shotgun, killed him, and stole what little money he had.
Additionally, Herzog gave specific details about how Shermantine killed Robin Armtrout.
Here is the police interrogation of the dimwitted, drug-addled Loren Herzog. Obviously, the light bulb is turned off, leading one to wonder exactly how this duo got away with their crimes for 15 years. He must have followed the lead of his master Shermantine (or others?) to a tee.
Incredibly, Herzog was released on parole in 2010 and allowed to stay in a trailer near the gates of a state prison. Flying monkey Herzog’s absurd claim was that he was a mere witness to Shermantine’s reign of terror.
Herzog hanged himself on Jan. 16, 2012, just hours after being informed that Shermantine was being paid $33,000 to pinpoint grave sites.
Tattoos of skulls, flames, satanic imagery and vulgarity covered the body of serial killer Loren Herzog. “Made and Fueled by Hate and Restrained by Reality” read a black tattoo that ran down Herzog’s left leg, knee and foot. Ink on his right foot read, “The Devil Made Me Do It.”
“There is a black tattoo representing two revolvers on the right and left aspects of the abdomen,” a report states. A German phrase on his left foot translates to “Trail (or wake) of the Devastation.” The report states that a complex, black and green tattoo covering Herzog’s arms depicts flames, the grim reaper, skulls, webs, skeletons, a panther and Satan.
The identity of remains recovered in a well were announced to the public on March 30, 2012. They were those of two Stockton, California teens missing since the mid-1980s: Kimberly Ann Billy, 19, who disappeared Dec. 11, 1984, and Joann Hobson, 16, who disappeared Aug. 29, 1985. The remains of an additional victim and fetus were found in the well, that of a very pregnant prostitute who was stabbed and then shot to death.
Two separate burial sites in Calaveras County, California, were also investigated in February 2012 based on a letter Shermantine wrote to bounty hunter Leonard Padilla that detailed possible locations of victims. Shermantine indicated sites nearby property formerly owned by Shermantine’s parents. Bodies from these two sites were recovered and identified as those of 1985 victim Chevelle “Chevy” Wheeler and last known victim Cyndi Vanderheiden.
The duo are believed to be responsible for dozens of unsolved murders and disappearances, often throwing dead victims down deep wells and mine shafts around San Joaquin County, making discovery and retrieval difficult, if not impossible.
Wesley Shermantine provided an extensive 4-foot map of their body disposal sites in the environs around Linden.
Shermantine once reportedly bragged that he had killed 24 people. Over the years, he told relatives and acquaintances he had “made people disappear”. This is similar to the M.O. of Israel Keyes.
Dr. Alex Stalcup, who was interviewed about the duo, said their shared, violent acts became even more brutal on meth.
“If you look at meth murders, they didn’t just stab ‘em once. They stab them 50 times,” he said.
Ultimately, Shermantine drew maps that were turned over to law enforcement officials who have so far searched three sites, including an old well identified on the map as “Herzog’s Bone Yard.” It has yielded more than 1,000 bones, plus clothing, beer bottles, a purse, shoes, car parts and a woman’s ring. Four victims were identified, but the rest have been evasive.
Shermantine has suggested these sites could contain more than a dozen additional bodies.
After this period of cooperation, Shermantine went silent. He claimed he wasn’t paid for his earlier revelations.
In a letter from death row to a CBS News affiliate in Sacramento, he stated that there was a third killer who operated with his flying monkey Loren Herzog. This ring committed more than 70 murders, according to Shermantine.