New DNA testing may soon identify more of the victims of Indiana’s most prolific serial killer.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Herb Baumeister is believed to have picked young men at gay bars and brought them back to his house, where he killed them. He allegedly pulverized their bones and buried them on his farm, Fox Hollow Farm, near Indianapolis.
Baumeister died by suicide in 1996 before he could be arrested, according to ABC affiliate WRTV. In 1996, authorities singled out 11 separate DNA profiles among the bones of Baumeister’s suspected victims, ultimately identifying eight victims.
But now, Jeff Jellison, a Republican who won the race to be Hamilton County’s next coroner in November, says advanced DNA technology could allow for the identification of not only the remaining three unidentified victims, but potentially additional men who disappeared during that time.
“The search produced more than probably 10,000 bones and bone fragments,” Jellison told Indianapolis-based CW affiliate WISH-TV. “We believe there are as many as 25 individuals that were recovered from that property.”
Under Jellison’s watch, the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office and the University of Indianapolis Archeology and Forensic Lab will work together to figure out which bone fragments can be used to construct more DNA profiles.
Jellison encouraged anyone with a male relative or friend who went missing in the 1980s or 1990s in Indiana to give a DNA sample or tip, even if they don’t know whether that person was gay.
He told WISH-TV that he couldn’t entirely explain why the Coroner’s Office took so long to pick up the investigation again.
“This is huge. This is a big investigation that’s going to take quite some time and a lot of manpower, and our office didn’t quite have the manpower to do that [before],” he said. “I tell people these people were forgotten, but they’re not forgotten any longer.”
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