Speed Freak Killers Victim's Remains Identified as Chevy Wheeler
By Steven Masone
Linden Herald Newspaper
The mother of Chevy Wheeler, one of the victims of the Speed Freak Killers says remains found last Friday in Calaveras County have been positively identified as her daughter.
Paula Wheeler, mother of Chevy Wheeler, reporters that the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department called her at her in Tennessee to tell her the remains found last week are that of her daughter.
Wheeler’s remains were discovered Friday by authorities searching the former family property of Wesley Shermantine, one of the “Speed Freak Killers.”
Chevelle "Chevy" Wheeler prior to her disappearance in 1985.
According to Sacramento-based bounty hunter Leonard Padilla, the remains were found in the location where Shermantine admitted that 16-year old Chevy Wheeler was buried.
Wheeler went missing from Franklin High School in Stockton in 1985, when she told friends she was skipping school to go with Shermantine to his family’s cabin in San Andreas.
Wheeler’s mother, Paula, told reporters over the phone from Tennessee that the sheriff’s office called her and told her the remains were found wrapped in a blanket where Shermantine indicated they would be and that the clothes appeared to match what Chevy was wearing when she went missing.
A sheriff’s official confirmed the remains, including a partial skull, were found on the side of a hill surrounded by trees, brush and leaves. Specialized search dogs hit on a scent and crews brought in a back hoe to remove dirt and found the remains.
Over the weekend, authorities found more than 300 bones in the area where convicted Shermantine said there might be 10 or more victims from a methamphetamine-fueled killing spree he and a childhood friend were part of in the 1980s and 1990s. The 300 bones and other items were found 45 feet deep in the well on an abandoned cattle ranch near Linden, Calif.
Shermantine was convicted in 2001 of killing four people, including Vanderheiden and Wheeler. Herzog, his childhood friend, was found guilty of three murders but his murder convictions were later overturned on appeal. He was sentenced to 14 years and released in 2010. He committed suicide outside High Desert State Prison in Susanville last month, where he was living in a mobile home after his release.
Shermantine, who is on death row at San Quentin, has been talking with investigators over the last several weeks, offering to give them details about burial sites in return for money.
Shermantine allegedly made a deal with Sacramento bounty hunter Leonard Padilla in exchange for revealing grave-sites, to have reward monies shared with his family members. Shermantine owes $18,000 in restitution which keeps him from being allowed to have inmate funds for candy and other authorized canteen goods.
The thought of Shermantine getting reward money in any way shape or form is unthinkable. Whether the victims family file civil action to stop any funds from enriching Shermantine directly or indirectly, or intervention by the Governor who can do so by executive order, something must be done. It will be a travesty and mockery of justice if one penny goes to this murdering monster.