Herbert Richard Baumeister (April 7, 1947 – July 3, 1996) was an American businessman and suspected serial killer. A resident of the Indianapolis suburb of Westfield, Indiana, Baumeister was under investigation for murdering over a dozen men in the early 1990s, most of whom were last seen at gay bars. Police found the remains of eleven men, eight identified, on Baumeister's property.[1][2] Baumeister died by suicide after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was later linked to a series of murders of at least eleven men along Interstate 70, which occurred in the early 1980s to the early 1990s.[3]

Herb Baumeister
Baumeister's c. 1986 mugshot.
Herbert Richard Baumeister

(1947-04-07)April 7, 1947
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
DiedJuly 3, 1996(1996-07-03) (aged 49)
Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Cause of deathSuicide by gunshot
Criminal statusDeceased
Juliana Saiter
(m. 1971)
Span of crimes
CountryUnited States
State(s)Indiana and possibly Ohio

Early life


Herb Baumeister was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 7, 1947, the oldest of four children born to anesthesiologist Dr. Herbert Eugene Baumeister (d. November 12, 1986, aged 66) and Elizabeth Baumeister née Schmidt (d. April 7, 2013, aged 89).[4][5] His childhood was reportedly normal but he began exhibiting antisocial behavior by the onset of adolescence. Friends later recalled Baumeister's urophilia and how he used to "ponder what it would be like to taste human urine". Baumeister also enjoyed playing with dead animals and urinating on teachers' desks. In his teens, Baumeister's behavior caught the attention of his father, who secreted him off to mental examinations. Baumeister was subsequently diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder but did not receive further psychiatric treatment.[6] Because his school, North Central High School, focused on sports activities, Baumeister could not become part of the "in" crowd and "just didn't blend in." He withdrew to himself, spent many hours alone, and did not date.

In 1965, Baumeister attended Indiana University for a semester before dropping out, but returned in 1967.[4] In 1972, he attended a semester at Butler University.[7] As an adult, Baumeister drifted through a series of jobs, marked by a strong work ethic but also by increasingly bizarre behavior.[7] Baumeister married Juliana "Julie" Saiter in November 1971, a union that produced three children.[4][7][8] Saiter later said they had been sexually intimate only six times in over twenty-five years of marriage and never saw her husband nude.[6] Six months after his marriage, Baumeister was committed to a psychiatric hospital by his father for two months; his wife said he was "hurting and needed help."[4] Baumeister eventually founded the successful two store Sav-A-Lot thrift store chain in Indianapolis in 1988.[7]

Around May 1988, Herb and Julie purchased the Fox Hollow Farm property.

In 1994, Baumeister's son had been playing in the family's wooded backyard when he found a complete, partially buried human skeleton. Baumeister explained to his family that it had been one of his father's dissecting skeletons; he then had it stored in their garage and buried it in the garden again after he had cleaned out the garage.



I-70 Strangler


The I-70 Strangler is the nickname of an unidentified American serial killer who killed at least eleven young boys and adult men in Indiana and Ohio between June 1980 and October 1991, dumping their bodies near Interstate 70. The killer met his victims in popular gay bars and other similar establishments within a four-block radius in Indianapolis. All of the victims were later found naked or partially clothed near Interstate 70, often dumped in rivers, streams and ditches in the rural countryside. Each had been strangled to death.[9][10] Though officially unsolved, Baumeister was named the prime suspect in the case in April 1999 by law enforcement. According to investigators, bodies related to the I-70 Strangler case stopped being found in 1991 after Baumeister bought the Fox Hollow Farm, which he would use as a burial site for his subsequent victims.[9][10]

  • The body of 15-year-old Michael Sean Petree was discovered naked in rural Hamilton County, Indiana on June 16, 1980. Despite his young age, he was a male prostitute who spent most of his time around Indianapolis' gay bars. He was reported missing on June 7, but three days later, he was observed in different parts of the city riding along in a stranger's car. The cause of death was established as strangulation. No traces of drugs or alcohol were found in his blood.[11]
  • The topless corpse of Maurice Allen Taylor, 22, was found on July 21, 1982, in the Weasel Creek in rural Hamilton County Indiana.[12] While his cause of death was not sufficiently established, law enforcement suspected that he had been strangled. Taylor was a vagrant who lived in the boiler room of an apartment complex in Indianapolis, and due to his financial difficulties, he offered sexual services around the gay bars.[12][10]
  • Delvoyd Lee Baker, 14, was found semi-nude near a river in Hamilton County, Indiana, on October 3, 1982. While investigating his death, authorities located witnesses who stated that Baker was last seen on the evening of October 2, in downtown Indianapolis, boarding a blue van driven by a young white man with a bushy moustache.[13] The boy's parents told police that he had been riding his bike to the city center on the night of his disappearance, from where he called home at 10:30 p.m. to inform them that he was going to be late because he wanted to go to the cinema. It was later established that Baker had been cruising the Indianapolis gay bars for the last three months and had been prostituting himself.[13][14][12][10]
  • Michael Andrew "Mick" Riley, 22, disappeared on May 28, 1983, after visiting 'The Vogue Theater', a gay nightclub in Indianapolis. He was last seen with an unidentified man, with whom he later left. In February 1998, an Indianapolis resident contacted police and claimed that Baumeister was the man last seen leaving 'The Vogue Theater' with Riley.[9] Riley's nude body was later found in a ditch in Hancock County, southeast of Greenfield, on June 5. The autopsy determined that he had been strangled, with the perpetrator likely using a towel.[15][16]
  • Eric Allen Roettger, 17, vanished on May 7, 1985, with his shirtless body found a few days later near a stream in rural Preble County, Ohio, east of Lewisburg.[3] According to his parents, Roettger was planning to attend interviews for a summer job on the day of his disappearance, but did not attend any of them. His friends and relatives denied that he was gay, but later research indicated that Roettger had many acquaintances who were drug addicts or drug traffickers. Witnesses claimed that they had seen Eric at a bus stop in the early morning of March 7, but instead of waiting for the bus, he accepted a ride from a passing car.[17] When found, he had an apparent burn mark on his left shoulder, and had been strangled with a rope.[12][18]
  • The body of 29-year-old Michael Allen "Mike" Glenn, clad only in his underwear, was found in a ditch near Eaton, Ohio on August 15, 1986. He lived separately from his parents in a trailer park located on the outskirts of Indianapolis and worked as a handyman. The exact date of his disappearance was not established. Strangulation marks, possibly from a rope, were found on his neck. He was identified three years after his discovery with the help of fingerprinting.[12]
  • James Boyd Robbins Jr., 21, went missing on October 15, 1987, at around 10 p.m., shortly after leaving his mother's home in Indianapolis and walking to the southern part of the city. Two days later on October 17, his naked corpse bearing strangulation marks was found in a ditch in rural Shelby County, near Interstate 70 south of Gwynneville.[12] While investigating his murder, police located two witnesses who gave conflicting information; one claimed that they had seen a red Jeep Wrangler Renegade near the crime scene, while another said that the car was a Chevrolet Blazer.[19]
  • The corpse of 26-year-old Steven Lynn Elliott, clad in his underwear, was found on August 12, 1989, in rural Preble County, Ohio, near Interstate 70.[12] He had been strangled, presumably with a rope. Elliot's father told police that when his son came out as gay in 1979, he then left the family household and became involved in prostitution, developing an alcohol addiction.[12][17]
  • Clay Russell Boatman, 32, a licensed practical nurse, disappeared on August 14, 1990, after leaving his Richmond, Indiana apartment to visit 'Our Place', a local gay bar. His body, showing signs of strangulation, was found in a ditch by a group of children near Eaton, Ohio.[10] When interviewed, Boatman's family denied that he was homosexual.[12][20]
  • Thomas Ray Clevenger Jr., 18, vanished without a trace on September 6, 1990, and his semi-nude corpse was later found at an abandoned railroad track near Greenville, Ohio.[10] Clevenger grew up in a poor neighborhood of Indianapolis, and shortly before his death, he engaged in prostitution near gay bars to earn money, a fact denied by his mother and sister.[17]
  • The body of 42-year-old Otto Gary Becker was found in a ditch next to a gravel road in rural Henry County, Indiana on August 6, 1991. While investigating his murder, police identified several witnesses who claimed to have seen Becker in a car with another male driving north on Interstate 70 near Indianapolis. The witnesses were taken to the police station and shown photographs of various criminals convicted of kidnapping and murder charges in the state, but none of them was matched to the alleged abductor.[21]

Fox Hollow Farm killings


The Baumeisters purchased and moved to Fox Hollow Farms in May 1988. The home was built in 1978 and was sold in 2009 for $987,500. The 18+ acre, 4-bedroom, 10-bathroom, 11,572 sqft property was listed as 'Over 18 acres of wooded private rolling grounds with a pond. The house has over 11,500 sqft of living space, an indoor pool, a wet bar and many unique features. There is also a 5 car detached garage with a 2nd floor and outside deck, 2 horse stables, tack room and exercise ring.

On June 24, 1996, investigators recovered human bone fragments of at least eleven people buried in the woods at Fox Hollow Farm, an 18-acre property owned by Baumeister off 156th Street and the Monon Trail in Westfield, Indiana. A new search on December 4, 2022, found one bone and identified twenty additional locations that might have more remains buried under the ground.[22] Only eight people have been identified since the initial discovery. The additional three remains are still unidentified although they are all believed to be male and to have been victims of homicide. Hamilton County Coroner's office have appealed to the public requesting anyone with missing family members from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s in the Indianapolis area to complete a DNA test in an effort to help identify the victims' remains.[23][24] As of January 2024, forensic experts continue working in an effort to identify nearly 10,000 human remains recovered from Fox Hollow Farm.

  • John Lee "Johnny" Bayer, 20, went missing on May 28, 1993, in Indianapolis.
  • Jeffrey Allen "Jeff" Jones, 31, went missing on July 6, 1993, in Indianapolis.
  • Richard Douglas Hamilton Jr., 20, went missing on July 31, 1993, in Indianapolis.
  • Allen Lee Livingston, 27, also went missing on August 6, 1993, in Indianapolis.[25] His remains were recovered in the initial search of the farm in 1996, but remained unidentified until October 2023.[26]
  • Steven Spurlin Hale, 28, went missing on April 1, 1994, in Indianapolis.
  • Allen Wayne Broussard, 28, went missing on June 6, 1994, in Indianapolis.
  • Roger Allen Goodlet, 33, went missing on July 22, 1994. Last seen after he left his mother's residence, where he lived, to visit a gay bar on 16th Street in Indianapolis. Two weeks before his disappearance, Goodlet was sighted in the company of Baumeister in several Indianapolis homosexual establishments.
  • Michael Frederick "Mike" Keirn, 45, was a homosexual man last seen on March 31, 1995, at a gay bar in downtown Indianapolis. A jacket belonging to Keirn was found in Baumeister's residence.
  • Manuel Resendez, 34, was a homosexual Hispanic male and children's counsellor from Lafayette, Indiana, who was last seen at a gay bar in downtown Indianapolis on August 6, 1993. In January 2024, Hamilton County Coroner announced the identification of remains that were recovered in 1996 from Fox Hollow Farm. Human remains recovered from the property matched a family reference sample that was submitted in early 2023, and this lead to the identification in January 2024.[27]

Additional victim


Authorities have publicly and posthumously linked the unsolved disappearance of Jerry Williams-Comer, 34, to Baumeister. Williams-Comer was last seen in Indianapolis on August 8, 1995. After his disappearance, his vehicle was found at Castleton Square Mall.[28][29] As a young gay man, Williams-Comer fit the profile of Baumeister's victims, despite the fact that his remains were never recovered from Baumeister’s residence.

Identification, investigation and death


By the early-1990s, investigators with the Marion County Sheriff's Department and the Indianapolis Police Department began investigating the disappearances of gay men of similar age, height, and weight in the Indianapolis area. In 1994, they were contacted by a man named Tony Harris claiming that a gay bar patron calling himself "Brian Smart" had likely killed a friend of his, Roger Goodlet, based on his suspicious interest in Goodlet's missing persons case and had attempted to kill him with a pool hose during an erotic asphyxiation session in his mansion after he had met him at a local Indianapolis gay bar; the 501 Club. Harris eventually saw this man again in August 1995, following his car and noting his license plate number.[6]

Police identified "Brian Smart" as Herb Baumeister. Investigators approached Baumeister, told him he was a suspect in the disappearances, and asked to search his house. Both Baumeister and his wife, Julie, refused to allow a search of their property. By June 1996, however, Julie had become sufficiently frightened by her husband's erratic behavior that, after filing for divorce, she consented to a search.[4] The search of the estate was conducted while Baumeister was on vacation. It turned up the remains of eleven men, eight of whom were identified.[1][2]

With a warrant out for his arrest, Baumeister fled to Ontario, where he committed suicide at Pinery Provincial Park on Lake Huron by shooting himself in the head with a .357 Magnum handgun.[30] Baumeister left a 3-page suicide note, written on yellow notepaper. He regretted messing up the park, he wrote, and felt badly about his broken marriage and failing business, but he did not mention the remains of his victims or admit to any crime.[4] He described items on his trip, including his intention to kill himself in a different place, but seeing children there had changed his mind. His final meal was a peanut butter sandwich.[31]

Media coverage


The A&E television series Investigative Reports aired an episode about Baumeister titled The Secret Life of a Serial Killer in 1997.[32] History featured the case in their Perfect Crimes series. The case was also featured on The Investigators on TruTV in 2008, Behind Mansion Walls on Investigation Discovery (ID), Paranormal Witness on Syfy in 2012, and Ghost Adventures in May 2014. An independent documentary film titled The Haunting of Fox Hollow Farm also explores the crimes and the possibility of hauntings on the grounds of Baumeister's former estate.[33]

ID featured the case again on the series True Nightmares, in October 2015.[34] The Crime Junkie podcast released an episode on Baumeister on March 4, 2018.[35] The Monster Presents: Insomniac podcast released a two-part episode about the case on June 27, 2019.[36] The All Things Comedy Mexican podcast Leyendas Legendarias released an episode where they talked about the case on October 14, 2020.[37] Georgia Hardstark covered the case on the podcast, My Favorite Murder, in episode 67, "Live at the Egyptian Room", during a live performance in Indianapolis.

The podcast The Last Podcast on the Left released part 1 of a series on Herb Baumeister titled 'Episode 568: Herb Baumeister Part I - The Bone Twins' on March 29, 2024. Part 2 titled ‘Episode 569: Herb Baumeister Part II - The Haunting at Fox Hollow Farm’ was released on April 5, 2024.

See also



  1. ^ a b Higgins, Will (October 30, 2012). "House with dark past fulfills family's dream". Chillicothe Gazette. p. 4A. Retrieved June 21, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  2. ^ a b Mitchell, Dawn (February 29, 2016). "Retro Indy: Heinous crimes of serial killers in Indiana". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Hundley, Wendy (November 10, 1996). "The 'gay slayings' mystery". Dayton Daily News. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Jerome, Richard; Weinstein, Fannie (December 23, 1996). "While Julie Was Away". People Magazine. Vol. 46, no. 26. ISSN 0093-7673. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  5. ^ "Longtime anesthesiologist Herbert E. Baumeister dies". The Indianapolis Star. November 13, 1986. p. 48. Retrieved June 21, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  6. ^ a b c Albert, Natasha; Allen, Erin; Armistead, Sherri; Bradley, Josh. "Herb Baumeister "The I-70 Strangler"" (PDF). Radford, Virginia: Department of Psychology, Radford University.
  7. ^ a b c d Labalme, Jenny (September 15, 1996). "Businessman puzzled people in life and death". The Indianapolis Star. pp. 41, 49. Retrieved June 21, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  8. ^ Meredith, Robyn (October 16, 1996). "Seven Skeletons, and a Suburb in Shock". The New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c "UPI Focus: Sheriffs link 9 deaths to Indiana man". United Press International. April 28, 1998.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Hundley, Wendy (November 10, 1996). "Slayings: Clues, years grow in unsolved cases". Dayton Daily News. p. 10.
  11. ^ "After Disappearance: Petree Youth Placed At Circle On June 11". The Indianapolis Star. June 28, 1980.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Slayings of gay Hoosiers had been linked before". The Indianapolis Star. September 18, 1990.
  13. ^ a b Stuteville, George (October 5, 1982). "'Gay' area probed for clues to youth's death". The Indianapolis Star. p. 1.
  14. ^ Miley, Scott L.; Stuteville, George (June 12, 1983). "Profiles of 8 victims: FBI concludes 2 men responsible for murders". The Indianapolis Star. p. 12.
  15. ^ Leyden, Thomas (June 8, 1983). "8th victim strangled, officials learn". The Indianapolis Star. p. 21.
  16. ^ "Police task force steps up gay murders investigations". The Indianapolis Star. July 7, 1983. p. 22.
  17. ^ a b c "Victims". Dayton Daily News. October 21, 1990. p. 12.
  18. ^ Conroy, John (July 30, 1992). "The Return of Larry Eyler". Chicago Reader. Retrieved July 23, 2023.
  19. ^ "Police to match notes in killings". The Indianapolis Star. October 28, 1987.
  20. ^ Wasson, Pete (October 31, 1990). "Information on murders going to FBI". Palladium-Item.
  21. ^ VanOverberghe, Caitlin (June 27, 2017). "Cold cases: Lyons homicide not only unsolved investigation". Daily Reporter.
  22. ^ "Bone found during Sunday search of Herbert Baumeister property". Indianapolis News. December 4, 2022. Retrieved April 24, 2023.
  23. ^ "Fox Hollow Farm: HamCo coroner seeks DNA to identify more remains from the case". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved December 5, 2022.
  24. ^ "Indiana Businessman Is Linked To 9 Other Killings of Men". The New York Times. Associated Press. April 29, 1998. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  25. ^ Allen Lee Livingston by The Charley Project.
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ "Remains found on serial killer's Indiana estate identified as man missing since 1993 - CBS News". www.cbsnews.com. January 26, 2024. Retrieved January 26, 2024.
  28. ^ 1231DMIN - Jerry Williams-Comer by Doe Network.
  29. ^ Jerry Williams-Comer by The Charley Project.
  30. ^ Cawthorne, Nigel (2011). The Mammoth Book of Killers at Large. United Kingdom: C & R Crime. p. 168. ISBN 9780786719747.
  31. ^ Labalme, Jenny (July 6, 1996). "Suicide note mentions marriage, business but not bones". The Indianapolis Star. pp. 1–2. Retrieved June 21, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  32. ^ Hall, Steve (September 4, 1997). "Baumeister program is chilling but flawed". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved June 21, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  33. ^ The Haunting of Fox Hollow Farm at IMDb  
  34. ^ True Nightmares at IMDb  
  35. ^ "SERIAL KILLER: Herb Baumeister – Crime Junkie Podcast". crimejunkiepodcast.com. March 4, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  36. ^ "Monster Presents: Insomniac". iHeartRadio. June 27, 2019. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  37. ^ E85: Los Fantasmas de Fox Hollow Farm - YouTube

Further reading

  • Fannie Weinstein; Melinda Wilson (September 15, 1998), Where the Bodies Are Buried, St. Martin's Press, ISBN 978-0312966539
  • Ryan Green, You Think You Know Me: The True Story of Herb Baumeister and the Horror at Fox Hollow Farm (Ryan Green Publishing, 2018)