Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Herb Baumeister

The Dark Side

"The deeds men do live after them."

William Shakespeare

Early in his investigations, Vandagriff had made connections between the disappearances of gay men in Indianapolis to the strangling murders of homosexuals whose bodies were found dumped along Interstate 70 in the state of Ohio. In sharing Tony Harris testimony with David Lindloff, a prosecutor from Preble County, Ohio, who was heading the investigation of what was called "the I-70 Murders," the two men agreed that there were tight similarities. The last known I-70 murder had been committed in 1990, not long before the Indianapolis disappearances began.

When the newspapers began splashing the news of bodies unearthed at Fox Hollow Farms, Lindloff remembered the conversations he had had with Vandagriff. Now having a suspect, Lindloff discovered that this Herb Baumeister had made countless business trips to Ohio during the late 1980s. Already cold to the fact that her husband was indeed the maniac who strangled men in her home while she and the children were away, this new accusation did not surprise Julie. She cooperated with Lindloff, providing him with all the information he wanted credit card receipts, phone call records, even the use of their car that Herb had driven on those business trips.

Baumeisters photo matched the police sketch drawn from witnesses who had thought they had seen the I-70 strangler. One eyewitness, in fact, even came forward to identify Herbs picture as that of the same man who had driven his friend home from a bar one evening in 1988; his friend, Michael Riley, had been found dead the next morning. Not long after, representatives from combined Ohio and Indiana counties held a press conference to definitely link Baumeister with the I-70 slayings.

"There were skeptics," Vandagriff admits. "Well never know for sure, of course, if he was indeed the same man. Everything points to him even the fact that the roadside killings ended at the same time he bought his house and now had a place with plenty of room to dump his bodies with a lot less hassle."

* * * * *

Vandagriff gives us something more to ponder. "In my capacity as a private detective, I do not always have the liberty nor the finances to follow my suspicions to their limits. Otherwise, I would have taken the Herbert Baumeister case a lot further than I feel the police did. While there were many fine moments in the investigation Mary Wilson did one hell of a job, for instance I think there were certain loose ends that should have been tied up."

For the benefit of Dark Horse Multimedia, he mentions one particular "loose end" not addressed in the book, Where the Bodies Are Buried, nor in an A&E home video that examined the case after the fact. "Herb had an older brother who lived in Texas. Now, I dont know if Herb had visited him at the time or not, but and this is real strange that particular Baumeister was found dead in a whirlpool. The case was never solved, but, this incident occurred around the same time Herb was strangling people in his pool. I ask you, does that ring too close to home or doesnt it?"

 

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