Thursday, January 19, 2012

Convicted Speed Freak Killer Loren Herzog found dead.

                                  Serial Killer Loren Herzog: Death By Hanging 

Linden, California January 19, 2012
        Steven Masone                    
By Steven Masone
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The Lassen County Sheriff's Department confirmed Herzog was pronounced dead shortly after midnight.
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Herzog (above) had been living in a trailer just outside the front gate of the High Desert State Prison in Susanville, since his release in September 2010.
"The evidence at the scene was consistent with asphyxiation by ligature (hanging), and suicide. An official determination related to the cause of death won't be made until after the investigation and an autopsy are completed," read a news release from the Lassen County Sheriff.
Herzog and childhood friend Wesley Shermantine were each originally convicted of several first-degree murder charges, including the rape and murder of Cyndi Vanderheiden in 1998.
Her body was never found.

In a phone conversation Tuesday, Teresa Vanderheiden, mother of Cyndi expressed both relief and frustration.  Relief that some justice has been served because of Herzog's early release, and frustration Cyndi's remains have not been put to rest. 

Prison officials reported a suicide note has not been found in the location of his death.

Probably the most disturbing crime for this community in modern history, another chapter bringing some much needed closure has turned a page.
Shermantine was sentenced to death, and Herzog served 11 years of a 78-year sentence.

Herzog's sentence was reduced when an appeals court tossed out the convictions and sentence, ruling that Herzog's statements were illegally coerced.

Overnight, a low-battery alarm on Herzog's GPS unit alerted DOC parole agents, which is standard procedure, according to Department of Corrections representatives.

While it "appears" to be suicide, a death investigation is being conducted by the DOC and Lassen County Sheriff's Office, officials said.
Parolees are required to charge their own GPS devices, and when they get to a certain level, an alarm goes off. Prison officials were asked to check on Herzog about midnight, and his time of death is listed as about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

It was November 14th 1998 Cyndi Vanderheiden disappeared.  She was born in Escondido,but her family returned to the Clements area where her mother grew up, moving among Clements, Lodi and Valley Springs before settling in Clements. She graduated from Lodi High School. Cyndi Vanderheiden was last seen by a Clements construction worker, Curtis Cox.

Cox, a friend of Vanderheiden's said he ran into her by chance at the Old Corner Saloon in Clements the night before she was reported missing by her family.

Vanderheiden told him she'd had too many drinks to drive, he said, and asked Cox to take her to the Linden Inn. Cox said he agreed, and they arrived at the second bar just past midnight.

The family of Cyndy launched their search for her setting up headquarters in the 100F building in Clements. A massive flyer and media campaign ensued with endless search parties as friends and community members by the hundreds joined with law enforcement  searching and hoping to find her alive.
Soon it was learned that the Sheriff's Office had suspects in what looked like was the family's worst nightmare, Cindy had met up with foul play.
Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog who were seen with Cyndy that night by Curtis Cox were arrested and confessions of rape and murder shocked the family and this entire community.

Cindy's father,  was owner of the Linden Inn and was there that night in question. It was his insistence that Sheriffs investigators began questioning Herzog and Shermantine .  Frustrated and desperate for new leads, the family of Cyndi Vanderheiden called a press conference  to release the names of the two men who reportedly were not cooperating with the investigation into the disappearance of 25-year-old Cyndi.

Vanderheiden's sister, Kim Wrage, said her family was trying to pressure the two men and their families to come forward with any information they had about Vanderheiden.

From archives: "We decided to take this step because we have no new leads or information and we don't know where else to look," said Wrage, who has been searching for her sister since she vanished Nov. 14. "If these two that have refused to cooperate any further, if they have no involvement in Cyndi's
disappearance, I just don't understand why they can't come forward to cooperate."

San Joaquin County sheriff's detectives suspect foul play in Vanderheiden's
disappearance. They have named the two men as witnesses but not suspects,
so the media was not publishing their names.
Sheriff's spokesman Mike Padilla said the two men were seen with Vanderheiden at the Linden Inn, owned by Vanderheiden's father, on the night she disappeared.They have been interviewed, but he said they refuse to take lie detector tests.

Vanderheiden's family said the two men also refused to allow sheriff's
deputies to search their cars and declined further interviews, but Padilla
said the lead detective was unavailable to confirm the extent to which the
two men have cooperated.

"We don't have any new leads, there's no new suspects," said
Padilla. "We've virtually run out of places to search unless we get
some new information." Padilla said a detective will remain on the
case full time until a new case takes priority.
The Vanderheidens met with the lead detective prior to calling their
press conference and said they were told they should check with an attorney
to protect themselves from potential slander lawsuits.
Wrage said she consulted an attorney and feels statements her family
made are factual and non-accusatory. The family said the men are not cooperating in the disappearance.

Vanderheiden's aunt, Baubie Wardrobe-Fox, told reporters: "We firmly
believe the person responsible for Cyndi's disappearance is within a 100-mile
radius, has a history of abductions, rape or murder, is of high-risk character
and may strike again if not apprehended."

Padilla said he has no opinion on whether the Vanderheidens' decision
to put public pressure on the two men will hurt or help the case.
The two men, from Linden and San Andreas, could not be reached for comment.

Vanderheiden spent part of the evening she disappeared at the Linden
Inn before reportedly heading home in the early hours of Nov. 14. A friend
said he escorted her to the driveway and saw her turn off her car headlights,
but did not see her go into her house. Her unlocked car was found in the
Glennview Cemetery the next day, with her purse and cell phone still inside.
Curtis Cox said he and Vanderheiden left the bar at 2 a.m. Nov. 14, and he drove her back to her car and then followed her to her parents' home, which he believed she entered. He then went home himself.

Cox said Vanderheiden told him she planned to work the next day and never said anything about planning to meet Herzog later.

But Herzog has told told detectives that after Cox left, Vanderheiden met him and Shermantine at a Clements cemetery, where the three used methamphetamine in Shermantine's car.

Shermantine and Vanderheiden got into an argument, and Shermantine hit Vanderheiden and started driving, according to Herzog's statements to authorities. Herzog said Shermantine then pulled to the side of the road, raped and stabbed Vanderheiden and later hid her body.

Herzog has provided details of that and other killings, blaming Shermantine for them. Shermantine has implicated Herzog in the deaths.

As the details of this tragedy began to unfold and Herzog and Shermantine began blaming each other for not only Cyndi's murder, a reign of murder rape and unspeakable evil over the years came to the light of day, made of the stuff of nightmarish serial killers right in the midst of this normally peaceful community.

After pretrial publicity forced an out-of-county trial, a Linden man accused of five murders spanning more than 14 years will be tried in Santa Clara County, the Judicial Council confirmed Wednesday.
Loren Joseph Herzog was accused of killing Cyndi Vanderheiden, 25, of Clements in 1998; Robin Armtrout, 24, of Stockton; and Paul Cavanaugh, 31, of Stockton, Howard King, 35, of Lathrop and Henry Howell, 45, of Santa Clara in 1984.

Archives: The 35-year-old motorcycle rider has been in custody since March 1999 after making statements to San Joaquin County sheriff's detectives about the crimes. In the videotaped statements, Herzog said he watched his friend Wesley Shermantine commit the five murders but was too scared to go to the authorities.

Image result for Speed Freak KillersSan  Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa, who was prosecuting Herzog, said he wanted Solano County or Sacramento County, since the commute was shorter.

In February, a Santa Clara jury found Shermantine guilty of Vanderheiden's, Cavanaugh's and King's murders. He also was convicted of murdering Chevelle "Chevy" Wheeler, 16, who cut school with Shermantine in 1985 to go to Valley Springs. Wheeler's  body has never been recovered.

Authorities lacked physical evidence linking Shermantine to the Armtrout and Howell murders, and he was not charged with those crimes. A dove hunter stumbled upon Armtrout's nude body near Peters Creek outside Linden. She had been raped and had been stabbed multiple times.
Howell was found shot to death in Alpine County.

Little had been revealed about Howell, one of five people former construction worker Loren Herzog is accused of killing between 1984 and 1998.
By the time he was shot to death near Markleeville on Aug. 31, 1984, Howell lived in Santa Clara and worked for Westinghouse as a draftsman, according to Oscar Frener, one of Howell's former colleagues.

Authorities believed Herzog when he told them, in a 1999 videotaped statement, that he was present at Howell's 1984 murder. But then, like now, Herzog claimed he never killed anyone. Instead, he blamed his longtime friend Wes Shermantine as the triggerman, insisting fear kept him quiet about the crimes. He told authorities he and Shermantine came upon Howell passed out by the side of the road, and Shermantine shot and robbed him.
After Herzog's 1999 statements to San Joaquin County sheriff's deputies, Shermantine was charged with four murders -- but Howell's was not one of them.

That February, a Santa Clara County jury convicted Shermantine of the 1998 murder of Cyndi Vanderheiden, the 1985 murders of Paul Cavanaugh and Howard King and the 1985 murder of Chevelle "Chevy" Wheeler. He was sentenced to death in May.

Charged with Cavanaugh, King and Vanderheiden's murders, Herzog alone stands accused of Howell's murder and one more -- the death of Stockton woman Robin Armtrout in 1984.

On Tuesday, in a Santa Clara courthouse, a former logger said he discovered Howell's body on the side of the road shortly after 6 a.m. Sept. 1, 1984. Howell lay curled up and face down, the back of his head exposing a gaping wound. His 1974 Pinto was parked only yards from him, facing the wrong way on the road.

James Laughton testified he noticed Howell's body and car as he approached his turn into a logging road just opposite the parked vehicle. When he saw the driver, he said, he assumed the man had been drunk and passed out alongside the car. The car's awkward position, parked on the wrong side of the road, led him to investigate further.

"I crossed the road and came around the ... front of the car," he said. "It was fairly obvious the individual was not going to wake up. The back of his head was gone."

Also Tuesday, San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Michael Garrigan stymied a prosecution attempt to show a violent side of Herzog, told through a witness who said she had an affair with him during the early 1990s.
Garrigan ruled the jury could not hear testimony about an incident where Herzog allegedly bragged he and Shermantine beat up a man, nor could the jury hear testimony of a time Herzog allegedly pointed a gun at the witness and told her to "put my ... beer down."
The incidents were "too prejudicial," Garrigan said.

October 23, 2001 Herzog was found guilty Oct. 23 of the murders of Paul Cavanaugh and Howard King, who were shot to death off Charter Way in 1984, and Cyndi Vanderheiden. 
The jury also convicted him of accessory to the 1984 murder of Henry Howell, a Santa Clara man shot to death near Hope Valley in Alpine County.

Herzog told authorities he was present when Shermantine killed Vanderheiden, King and Cavanaugh, but he denied taking part in those murders.

Vanderheiden agreed to meet Herzog and Shermantine the night she disappeared at the Clements cemetery, where the trio took methamphetamine in Shermantine's car. But she balked when Shermantine drove off with her in the passenger seat and Herzog lying in the back seat. And she refused when Shermantine demanded sex from her.

Alternately screaming at Vanderheiden and striking out at her, Shermantine sped along east San Joaquin County country roads until he brought the car, with a blown-out tire, to a stop on Waverly Road. There, according to Herzog, Shermantine raped Vanderheiden and slit her throat while she cried out for help from Herzog.

Bending over her as she bled and struggled, Shermantine urged, "Just let it (death) come natural."

On Herzog's sentencing, Vanderheiden's father, John Vanderheiden, parroted Shermantine's words to Herzog during his victim-impact statement. Facing the bearded Herzog, his hands shoved into his pockets, Vanderheiden said he hoped Herzog got his "just punishment" in prison.
"When they're holding you down, ... pulling on your ponytail, ... tell them to 'just let it come natural,' " he said. "Maybe they'll carve a little initial in your back like you did (to Cyndi.)

At the remarks, Herzog swore at John Vanderheiden, calling him a "punk." As Cyndi Vanderheiden's older sister, Kim Wrage-Vanderheiden, began her victim-impact remarks, Herzog stared steadily at her. 

"Cyndi is my baby sister, my only sister, and she's not here anymore," Wrage-Vanderheiden said, shaking and sobbing. "The last three years have been a nightmare. ... You made the decision to become a serial killer. When she asked,  you to help her, you turned your back on her."

During the statement, Herzog's mother, Malvi, rose to her feet. Her husband and a family friend compelled her to take her seat again.

But outside the courtroom, she spoke directly to the Vanderheidens, telling them they were "going to hell." Bailiffs ushered the family members out of the courthouse as they continued yelling at one another.

Before the victim-impact statements, San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa called Shermantine to the stand in a final effort to persuade him to reveal where he left Cyndi Vanderheiden's body.

Shermantine offered to reveal the location of Vanderheiden's body in exchange for a $20,000 reward offered by a search center set up in Vanderheiden's name. The Vanderheiden family refused the deal. In May, Shermantine swore he'd go to his grave without telling what he knew, proclaiming his innocence even after receiving the death penalty.

A judge had sentenced Herzog to 78 years in state prison for a conviction on three murders. Much of that was erased on appeal, and the former Linden resident pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the slaying of 24-year-old Cyndi Vanderheiden and received a 14-year sentence.

After community after community spoke out against Herzog being released to their counties, state parole built a special living quarters for Herzog right outside the prison fences in Susanville California, as much for Herzog and his protection as for the public.

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1 comment:

  1. So why does the system keep covering up for the whistle blowers? They are my problem too.? They can get away with harassing you rape, murder vcitims? THAT IS WHEN YOU HEAR WOMEN & MAN ON MICRO PHONE _ ELECTRONC STALKING HARASSMENT..?THEY HAD ME PERFORM ORAL SEX AT 8 YRS OLD TO HAVE TEHM STOP HARASSING ME.?