NOBLESVILLE, Indiana (WISH) — Bones found at Fox Hallow Farms in Westfield in the 1990s are being linked to Herb Baumeister, the man widely believed to be Indiana’s most prolific serial killer.
In 1996, authorities found only 11 DNA profiles under the bones and identified eight of the men.
Now, with new bone tests, that total of DNA profiles could rise to about 25 men.
Jeff Jellison, who takes office as Hamilton County’s new coroner in January, said DNA technology had advanced and it was time to identify the rest of the men.
“The search turned up more than likely 10,000 bones and bone fragments,” Jellison said. “We believe there are up to 25 people who have been recovered from this property. So from that first find, 11 DNA samples were identified. Eight of these individuals were actually matched against DNA samples and actually identified. There are still three remaining DNA samples that have not been matched to anyone.”
The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office is working with the University of Indianapolis Archeology and Forensics Laboratory to sort through the 10,000 bones and fragments to determine which can be used to create additional DNA profiles.
“We have identified approximately 100 bones suitable for DNA extraction. A lot of these bones are very, very small, like a fingernail, because they were crushed. Many of the longer bones were cremated before being discarded, so DNA may not be present in these bones.”
Baumeister allegedly forced young men in Indianapolis gay bars to return to his Westfield home before killing them. He took his own life before the police could arrest him.
Jellison said: “We know we have a couple of people who we believe are in this bone group and we have been able to locate family members of them. Through our investigators, through my deputies, through law enforcement, we will get to work.”
The coroner-elect emphasizes the need for anyone with a male relative or friend who went missing in Indiana or other states from the 1980s to the mid-1990s to come forward and provide a DNA sample or tip to assist in the investigation .
“If you look at the mid-’80s to mid-’90s, maybe family members didn’t know their relative was gay. So you have to take “gay” out of that equation and if you went missing someone, a male person in your family who went missing in the mid 80’s to mid 90’s, you have to come forward and we don’t know that all these people were gay, so we know they are male.”
Jellison said getting a sample from a family member was painless.
“We can extract DNA from a bone, but if we don’t have something that matches our efforts, (they) aren’t going anywhere,” Jellison said. “So if someone has missed a loved one during this time, they need to come forward and provide a DNA sample. It’s very easy. It just wipes someone’s cheek.”
The investigation would not take place without Jellison’s dedication. He said he wanted to break up and give the men a final resting place. He said he could not fully explain why this investigation took so long to resume.
“I can not answer that. I know I’ve talked to previous coroners and they all said, ‘Yeah, we should have done something like this.’ I think manpower was a big inhibiting factor at the time.
“I mean, that’s huge. This is a large investigation that will take time and a lot of manpower and our office didn’t quite have the staff for it.
“I tell people these people have been forgotten, but they are no longer forgotten.”
The CNN Wire
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