Number of victims: 4+
Date of murders: 1984 - 1999
Method of murder: Shooting / Stabbing
Location: California / Utah
Known as the ‘Speed Freak Killers,’ due to their love of methamphetamines, Herzog and Shermantine were a lethal pair of psychopaths who prowled the highways and byways of Northern California for over 15 years, committing random murders whenever the felt so inclined. California investigators believe that they may have killed as many as 20 people, disposing of their bodies in mineshafts and remote countryside around the town of Stockton.
Many of the murders were committed without apparent motive. The deadly duo would be driving around and would spot a stranded motorist and decide on the spur of the moment to kill them. Others, however, were rape slayings. It would be one of these, the 1985 murder of 16-year-old Chevelle Yvonne Wheeler, that would bring the killers to justice.
Chevelle (or Chevy, as she was known) disappeared after she was seen getting into a red pickup outside her high school on October 16, 1985. Shermantine owned just such a truck and he was immediately as suspect, especially after hair and blood was discovered inside a cabin owned by his parents. However, he denied any involvement in the disappearance and the police lacked the evidence to charge him.
Fifteen years on and DNA technology had advanced enough for police to match the evidence to Chevy Wheeler. Brought in for questioning, Shermantine continued to deny his involvement, while Herzog quickly cracked under pressure and admitted to several murders. He insisted, however, that Shermantine had done the killing and that he had only been along for the ride.
Shermantine would eventually be charged with four murders and sentenced to death. Herzog would face three charges, resulting in a prison term of 78 years. The sentenced was later reduced on appeal and he was released on parole in September 2010. Shortly after his release, he hung himself in his trailer.
After Herzog’s death, Wesley Shermantine led police to the bodies of Chevy Wheeler and another female victim, Cyndi Vanderheiden. He insisted, however, that Herzog had committed the murders.
Read the full, horrific story of Wesley Shermantine & Loren Herzog, plus 11 more
serial killer cases in American Monsters Volume 5. Available now on Amazon