Who is Herb Baumeister? Search on for more victims as bone found on serial killer's farm

Who is Herb Baumeister? Search on for more victims as bone found on serial killer's farm
Herbert Baumeister was a serial killer from the '80s and '90s, who killed himself before he could be tried for his crimes (Indianapolis Police Department)

Warning: This article contains a recollection of crime and can be triggering to some, readers' discretion advised

WESTFIELD, INDIANA: Police are desperately searching for victims of a serial killer who is believed to have murdered more than 25 men in the ‘80s and ‘90s. In 1996, Hamilton County sheriff's deputies reportedly found thousands of decomposed and charred bone fragments at the farm of Herbert Baumeister in the Indianapolis suburb of Westfield, Indiana. The police have now stepped up their efforts to find more victims and give them final resting. 

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Authorities believe Herbert Baumeister, 49, killed at least 25 people at his home in Fox Hollow Farms just west of US 31 on 156th Street in Westfield. Baumeister died by suicide shortly after police began their investigation. Members of the Hamilton County Coroner's Office and 10 cadaver dogs returned to the property on Sunday, December 4, to search for remains. After an hours-long search, Indiana police discovered a human bone.

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"Those bones represent people, these are people that we're talking about, have lied dormant in storage,” said Jeff Jellison, coroner elect and chief deputy at the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office. “It's time now to re-examine, take a look [and] see where we're at with this," Jellison added. "Let's look at this again. Let's get as many of these people identified as we possibly can and begin to get some closure for some families of some missing people," he said, according to The Sun

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Who was Herbert Baumeister?

(WISH TV/YouTube screengrab)
Authorities discovered dozens of decomposed and charred bone fragments at the farm of Herbert Baumeister (WISH TV/YouTube screengrab)

Born in Indianapolis in 1947, Herb got married to his wife Juliana in 1971, and the couple had three children. In the late 1980s, he founded the successful Sav-A-Lot thrift stores that operated at two locations in the Indianapolis area. In January 1996, Juliana filed for divorce from Herb after police started questioning her about her husband's possible link to the disappearances of several young men, according to The Indianapolis Star.

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Police believed when Baumeister's wife and children left for summer vacations, he picked up young men at gay bars and lured them to his home, and strangled them to death.

Investigators believe Baumeister burned the bodies, pulverized the bones, and disposed of most of the remains on parts of his 18-acre farm. After police discovered the remains of at least 25 people on his property in 1996, Baumeister fled the country before being tried on trial for his crimes. Baumeister, 49, died after he shot himself in the head in Pinery Provincial Park in Canada on July 3, 1996. He left behind a three-page suicide note, in which he apologized for spoiling the scenery of that Canadian park where he killed himself and for his failing marriage and business endeavors. However, he did not mention the killings or the victims that were found buried in his backyard. 

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Investigators believed at least 25 people fell victim to Baumeister but now cops think there is also a possibility there are several more victims. To date, 26 years after the discovery of the victims' bodies, only eight have been identified. "These are people and that's what we have to keep at the forefront of our minds ... these people need to be returned to their loved ones so they can be given a final resting spot," Jellison said.

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Herbert Baumeister's victims

In 1999, investigators identified the remains of eight men out of the 25 remains discovered on Baumeister's property. Then-Hamilton County Sheriff's Sgt Eddie Moore told the Indianapolis Star in June 1999 that Baumeister's known victims were: Johnny Bayer, 20, Indianapolis, missing on May 28, 1993; Allen Wayne Broussard, 28, Indianapolis, missing on June 6, 1994; Roger Allen Goodlet, 33, Indianapolis, missing on July 22, 1994; Richard D Hamilton, 20, Indianapolis, missing on July 31, 1993; Steven S Hale, 26, Indianapolis, missing on April 1, 1994; Jeff Allen Jones, 31, Indianapolis, missing on July 6, 1993; Michael Kiern, 46, Indianapolis, missing on March 31, 1995; Manuel Resendez, 31, Lafayette, missing on August 6, 1993.

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Authorities are encouraging anyone who might be related to the victims or anyone who knows someone missing during that period to come forward and provide DNA samples. "If we don't get comparison samples from relatives of those missing people, then our investigation will come to a halt very quickly. I need people that if you had someone missing in the middle 80s to middle 90s — I don't care where you're from, where they were from, I need you to come forward and provide us with a DNA sample," Jellison said, adding, "It's just a swab of the cheek, takes just a few seconds. It's painless. We will come to you. We will get you the DNA test kit."

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Anyone who believes they are a relative of a missing person connected to the case should contact the coroner's office at 317-770-4415.

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