Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Speed Freak Killers

Herzog Continues Implicating His Friend

Cyndi Vanderheiden
Cyndi Vanderheiden

Herzog also detailed how he and Shermantine had asked Cyndi Vanderheiden to meet them at the cemetery near her home after leaving another bar, The Linden Inn, the night her mother said she had heard Cyndi pull into the driveway of their home. According to Herzog, the three of them had left that bar sometime after midnight, which would have been prior to her going to the Old Corner Saloon in Clements. It was not clear why Cyndi had left the Old Corner Saloon and ended up at The Linden Inn, but investigators apparently located people who had seen the three together at The Linden Inn. For some reason, Vanderheiden had gone home, at least briefly, before leaving for the cemetery. After Vanderheiden apparently met up with Herzog and Shermantine and left her car at the cemetery, the trio was en route back to Linden when Shermantine supposedly pulled a knife and ordered Cyndi to perform oral sex on him. According to Herzog's statement, Shermantine then stopped the car, raped Cyndi, and then slashed her throat. At least part of Herzog's account was corroborated when detectives found Cyndi's blood on the passenger-side headrest and inside the trunk of Shermantine's car, and collected the accounts of the witnesses who had seen the trio together at The Linden Inn.

Herzog also implicated his friend in the shooting death of a hunter in northern Utah in 1994 while he and Shermantine were on vacation, according to what authorities told The Record newspaper. Law enforcement officials reportedly confirmed the hunter's death to the newspaper, and said that they were still treating his death as an unsolved murder.

Shortly after Herzog's and Shermantine's arrests, FBI agents raided Shermantine's parents' home in San Andreas and confiscated nearly $40,000 worth of guns, which were examined by evidence technicians attempting to link them to other unsolved crimes. The effort, however, appears to have been futile.

Shermantine, upon learning of Herzog's statements to police, struck back by insisting that Herzog, and Herzog alone, was to blame for Cyndi Vanderheiden's death. Shermantine also provided information implying that he might know the location of Vanderheiden's corpse and of other bodies.

Doug Jacobsen, Shermantine's attorney, showed Shermantine a copy of the videotaped interview that Herzog gave to police, prompting Shermantine's to respond.

"The more I've heard about all the stuff I'm supposed to have done, the madder I get," Shermantine told a reporter for The Record. "I'm tired of being used and manipulated by Loren. If Loren can give details about all these murders, it must mean he's the one that did them. I'm innocent. I've done nothing wrong to any of these people....With everything Loren told the detectives, I'd bet my life there were other bodies out there."

It was reported by The Record that authorities were also looking at Herzog and Shermantine as potential suspects in the 1994 murder of a woman in Tuolumne County. The woman's body had been dismembered and was found inside a barrel.

According to Herzog's statement, he had only watched as Shermantine committed the killings. Although both men were only charged with a handful of killings, prosecutors believe that between Herzog and Shermantine they may have been responsible for as many as 20 deaths, although they remain uncertain as to the exact body count.

 

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