Senator Cathleen Galgiani today announced that the family of JoAnn Hobson, a victim of serial killers Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog, filed a motion in their lawsuit against San Joaquin County. Hobson’s family is suing because they say the Sheriff’s Office improperly handled the 16-year-old victim’s remains.
In the motion, the family wants a protective order lifted on the investigation records, saying the disclosure will show the Sheriff’s Office improperly deleted missing person’s records from the national database before bodies were found, including Hobson’s record.
Galgiani, who is helping Hobson’s family, obtained emails, or “proof” of the wrongdoing. An interview with her will be included in my story at www.recordnet.com.
Two out-of-area detectives investigating missing persons (believed Herzog and Shermantine victims) in their jurisdictions declared in the motion that the Sheriff’s Office would not cooperate in their own investigations.
Their interviews will not appear in tomorrow’s story because of limited space.
This is what was cut out:
The motion, which was filed on Monday, includes declarations from Reno police detective Allan Duane Fox and Hayward police detective Kevin Atkins.
Fox alleges the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office was not willing to cooperate with him in the investigation of a woman, Terri Ann Fourcher, missing from his area since 1996. He said Bassett was “immediately dismissive” and met him with “passive denial” when he brought forward information he had gathered.
Fox said that in one instance, he followed up on a lead from Shermantine by taking a cadaver dog to one of the locations he described. The dog picked up a scent at a burn pit, which a witness he spoke to had also described. The Sheriff had the site excavated two days after Fox found it.
“The fact that the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Office did not know about this site disturbed me and left my impression of their investigative skills waning,” Fox stated in a declaration.
Atkins was looking into the disappearance of a 9-year-old girl, Michaela Garecht, who was believed to be killed by Herzog.
“Det. Bassett expressed no interest with my investigation, no offered any assistance whatsoever,” Atkins said in his declaration. “Det. Bassett stonewalled my efforts and would not provide me with any information regarding evidence found in the dig of the well in Linden, where other remains of bodies were found associated with the Speed Freak Killers.
“In a subsequent phone conversation, she stated to me in a whisper that ‘(she) can’t do anything without ‘say-so.’”
Moore said his agency disagrees with the detectives’ declarations.
“San Joaquin County personnel have always been willing to work with any law enforcement agency, concerning their investigations,” Moore said.
Moore said his office remains focused on finding all missing persons and brining closure and justice to the victims and their families.