Download video: Serial Killer - Herb Baumeister A.K.A.: "Herb" - "The I-70 Strangler"
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Characteristics: Lust killer - Torture
Number of victims: 8 - 16
Date of murders: 1980 - 1996
Date of birth: April 7, 1947
Victims profile: Johnny Bayer, 20 / Allen Wayne Broussard, 28 / Roger A. Goodlet, 33 / Richard D. Hamilton, 20 / Steven S. Hale, 26 / Jeff Allen Jones, 31 / Michael Kiern, 46 / Manuel Resendez, 31 (gay men)
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Indiana/Ohio, USA
Status: Committed suicide to avoid arrest on July 3, 1996 in Ontario, Canada
Herbert Richard "Herb" Baumeister (April 7, 1947 - July 3, 1996) was an American serial killer from suburban Westfield, Indiana outside of Indianapolis. He was the founder of the successful thrift store chain Sav-a-Lot in Indiana.
The oldest of four children, Baumeister's childhood was evidently normal. By the onset of adolescence, however, he began exhibiting antisocial behavior; acquaintances later recalled the young Baumeister playing with dead animals and urinating on a teacher's desk.
As a teenager, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but did not receive further psychiatric treatment. As an adult, he drifted through a series of jobs, marked by a strong work ethic, but also by more and increasingly bizarre behavior.
He married in 1971, a union that produced three children. He founded the Sav-a-Lot chain in 1988, and quickly became an affluent, well-liked member of the community.
Vergil Vandagriff is a professional private investigator in Indianapolis. He is a retired major crime investigator from the Marion County Sheriff's Department. He communicated with Mary Wilson an investigator with the Indianapolis Police department. The two detectives began investigating the disappearances of gay men in the area in the early 1990s, both convinced the crimes were related.
In 1993, they were contacted by a man claiming that a gay bar patron calling himself "Brian Smart" had killed a friend of his, and had attempted to kill him. The detectives told him to contact them in case he ever saw the man again. In November 1995, he called them and supplied the man's license plate; after checking the license registry, Vandagriff and Wilson discovered that "Brian Smart" was actually Herb Baumeister.
Wilson approached Baumeister, told him he was a suspect in the disappearances, and asked to search his house. When Baumeister refused, she confronted his wife, Julie, who also forbade police to search the house.
By June 1996, however, she had become sufficiently frightened by her husband's mood swings and erratic behavior that, after filing for divorce, she consented to a search. The search, conducted while Baumeister was on vacation, yielded the remains of 11 men; only four were ever identified.
Panicked, Baumeister escaped to Ontario, where he committed suicide at Pinery Provincial Park. In his suicide note, he described his failing marriage and business as his reason for killing himself. He did not confess to the murders of the seven men found in his backyard.
In addition to the murders at his estate, Baumeister is also strongly suspected of killing nine more men, the bodies of whom were found in rural areas along the corridor of Interstate 70 in Indiana and Ohio between Indianapolis and Columbus. Julie Baumeister told authorities that her husband made as many as one hundred business trips to Ohio, on what he said was store business.
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Serial Killer - Herb Baumeister A.K.A.: "Herb" - "The I-70 Strangler"