10,000 Human Body Parts Found at Indiana Farm

For decades, an idyllic farm in Westfield, Indiana, worth millions, concealed a horrifying truth. It was the hunting ground of a serial killer. When law enforcement finally descended upon the 18-acre property of Herb Baumeister, they discovered approximately 10,000 fragments of human remains. These were primarily the crushed and charred skeletal remains of teenage boys and young men who had been kidnapped and killed by Baumeister during the 1980s and 90s.

Almost three decades after Baumeister took his own life while evading the police, authorities continue to examine the remains and identify the victims. The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office announced last month that human remains found at Baumeister’s Fox Hollow Farm in 1996 have been positively identified as those of Jeffrey A. Jones, who disappeared in 1993. Jones is the third victim to be identified in recent months.

In addition to these identified victims, four DNA profiles discovered at Baumeister’s property remain unidentified. This brings the total number of Baumeister’s victims to 12, according to Hamilton County Coroner Jeff Jellison. The investigation is particularly challenging due to the condition of the remains, many of which were found burnt and crushed. Despite these difficulties, the team of law enforcement and forensic specialists remain dedicated to the case.

Baumeister, a businessman and father of three, began targeting gay teenagers and men in central Indiana in the early 1980s. It is believed that he may have killed at least 25 people. He often used the alias “Brian Smart” and preyed on young gay men he met in bars.

Before Jones, the coroner’s office had identified two other victims in the past six months: Allen Livingston, who was 27 when he disappeared in August 1993, and Manuel Resendez, who was 34 when he went missing in 1996. Baumeister, who moved to the farm with his family in 1988, used its expansive yard and nearby trail to conceal thousands of decomposed remains until his teenage son discovered a human skull and showed it to his mother.

Baumeister’s wife, who initially prevented law enforcement from searching their property, later divorced him as more evidence began to accumulate against him. Authorities eventually searched the property in Baumeister’s absence and discovered the bodies of several victims. Baumeister, then 49, fled to Ontario, Canada in 1996 after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He ended his life before he could be charged with the murders and did not confess to any of the crimes in his suicide note.

The unidentified bones and fragments had been stored away until Jellison decided to reopen the case in 1996. The Hamilton County coroner’s office, the FBI, Indiana State Police Laboratory, Dr. Krista Latham of the Biology & Anthropology Department at the University of Indianapolis, and DNA experts from Texas-based Othram Lab, are all collaborating to identify the additional remains.