Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Herb Baumeister

The Dark Side

"Facts are stubborn things."

Ebenezer Elliott

The following day after Julies lawyer notified her, Mary Wilson drove anxiously to Fox Hollow Farms. Accompanying her were two very skeptical Hamilton County officials, Captain Tom Anderson of the County Sheriffs Office and a detective, Jeff Marcum. In truth, Anderson was sure that the "human remains" Wilson hoped to find would turn out to be animal bones. He was not too shy, even to Marys face, to directly apprise the womans suspicions as "bullshit".

Julie Baumeister, with attorney Wendling at her side, met the law enforcement people at her front door that afternoon and led them through the house to the wooded back yard. There, she pointed to the spot where, two years earlier, her son Erich had found a skeleton. The reason she had not notified the authorities until now, she claimed, was because she had believed Herbs story about the bones being no more than a dissecting skeleton; his recent erratic actions, however, filled her with new doubts.

The yard, at first glance, looked normal. But, as the men began to kick through the low grass and patches of dirt just beyond the back patio, they encountered a bone about a foot long, charred from having been burned. They werent sure if it was human. Then, as their eyes focused on the area immediately around them, it quickly became apparent that those many pebbles and rocks strewn across the flat cover were not pebbles and rocks but fragments of bone. Lawyer Bill Wendling, watching the police scoop up one chipped and broken bone after another, now looked down at his own feet. Like evidence that followed the old adage, "so obvious, its unclear," he realized in a chill that he too was standing on what resembled bone chips here where the Baumeister kids played their innocent child games. At one point, he leaned over to pick up what were obviously human teeth. Pieces of bone lay everywhere.

Still, the county people on site were unconvinced that what they were gathering and taking photographs of were human. On this point, they drastically contended with Mary Wilson. Say Weinstein and Wilson in Where the Bodies Ate Buried: "Unlike her law enforcement counterparts from Hamilton County, (Mary) had heard the fear in Tony Harris voice. Shed seen first hand how nervous Herb had been and how he had done everything in his power to keep her off his land, including lying to Julie about their investigation. Now she knew why."

She delivered the bags of "evidence" to Forensic Anthropologist Stephen Nawrocki at the University of Indiana for an examination. His answer was fast-coming: "Theyre human. Theyre recent. And theyve been burned."



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