In 1993, a number of missing person cases involving young men went unsolved. Roger Allan Goodlet disappeared on July 22, 1994. Goodlet’s mother contacted the police, but unsatisfied with their response, she hired a private investigator. Soon Goodlet’s face appeared on flyers throughout the area. Finally, the community and media began to ask questions about the young men who frequented the gay night clubs in the area and their disappearances. Days after Goodlet’s disappearance, Stephen Hale was the eighth man to vanish. Police turned to the FBI Behavioral Science Unit for help. The profile indicated the perpetrator was a white male, mid 30s, bisexual with a mid to high level IQ. The profile would only be useful if the received information on a possible suspect.
One potential witness came forward. Mark Goodyear told police about an odd encounter he had with a man who was a regular patron of the bars in the area. When Goodyear and the man discussed the missing person flyer, the man seemed to feign concern. Despite Goodyear’s suspicions, he agreed to accompany the man home, where they engaged in erotic asphyxiation foreplay. Goodyear was shaken by the encounter and reported the incident to police, but he was unable to pinpoint the location. The man continued to contact Goodyear. During their phone conversations, the man admitted to accidents or bad nights, but he never confessed to murder. By August 1995, ten men had vanished. Goodyear spotted the man in a bar and took down his license plate number, which belonged to Herb Baumeister.
Unlike most characters in true crime stories, Herb and Julie Baumeister lived a seemingly idyllic life. The meet while attending Indiana University and married after Julie’s graduation in 1971. They founded a prosperous business, the Sav-A-Lot Thrift Stores, their children attended private schools and to all appearances they had achieved the American dream.
Police didn’t have any evidence to tie Beaumeister to the crimes, so they questioned him and asked to search his home. Unable to obtain a search warrant, Police conducted a search from the air using an infrared camera in the hopes of locating graves. The search was unsuccessful. Julie couldn’t believe Herb was involved; however, the stress of financial hardship and the accusations damaged the couple’s marriage. Julie filed for divorce and feared Herb would flee with her children. She decided to give police permission to search the property.
The police found a burial ground behind the house. Bones, teeth and skulls were strewn on the ground. Some of the bones were burned and broken; others were whole, large pieces. There were seven left metacarpal bones discovered, indicating at least seven victims. Despite the gruesome discovery, Herb Baumeister was not taken into custody. Herb Baumeister committed suicide on July 4th, 1996. He left a suicide note but made no mention of his crimes. Witnesses came forward and confirmed Baumeister’s habit of bringing men home for sexual encounters. Police speculated that Baumeister may have killed 50-60 people, beginning as earlier as 1980. The I-70 murders were eerily similar.
It seems inconceivable that Julie would not know about Herb’s activities. She did know that in 1972, Herb spent two months in a psychiatric hospital and was diagnosed with compulsive personality disorder. Police did not consider Julie an accomplice because she was gone each night a victim was taken to the home.