Herbert “Herb” Baumeister is a well-known serial killer who lived in Westfield, Indiana, a fast-growing suburb of Indianapolis. Before he became famous for killing people, Herb Baumeister was well-liked around town as the founder, in 1988, of the Sav-a-Lot shopping chain. A husband, father, entrepreneur and supporter of local charities, usually normal and affable on the surface, Baumeister fit the profile of a sociopath to a tee.
As a teenager, Baumeister already showed signs of being “different.” He was seen, for example, stuffing a dead crow into his pocket and later putting it on his teacher’s desk. His father, an anesthesiologist, had the boy tested, and the diagnosis was schizophrenia. There was apparently, however, no follow-up treatment, and the odd, repugnant incidents continued.
Through his high school and college years, Baumeister never exhibited any interest in dating and conducted himself as a geeky loner. He never graduated from college, hiring on as a copyboy at the Indianapolis Star instead. Reportedly, the man simply did not fit in at the newspaper, either. He took a step down and changed jobs to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. His twisted mind led him to urinate on the desk of his boss, something he had also been seen doing in school years before. Somehow, however, he was kept on for a while.
He married and had three children in short order, and finally lost his job at the BMV, after which he worked at a thrift store for three years. It was during this time that he got the idea to start his own thrift store, which he named Sav-a-Lot Thrift. Successful from its inception, there was soon another store.
It was in 1991, after becoming a solid success, that Herb Baumeister moved his family to upscale Westfield. Relocating to a mansion with an indoor pool and riding stables, all on 18-1/2 prime acres in the “burbs,” the Baumeister family had arrived.
But trouble, as always, came to paradise. The couple fought and separated for brief spates, and Baumeister spent more and more time on what he called business trips between home and Ohio, a route which later yielded nine skeletal bodies of victims strewn there over the years.
Eventually, Baumeister was caught and exposed. The only mystery is why it took so long. The killer had covered the back yard of his large estate, where his children played, with crushed and broken human bones. Pieces of burned skeletons were partially buried everywhere, with only a light dusting of dirt to hide them.
Herb Baumeister, AKA Brian Smart, was proven to have murdered the eleven gay men whose skeletons were found in his yard. Speculation has it that he killed as many as fifty. Only four of his victims were identifiable. Police now estimate that “Strange Herb” killed at least nine others, whose bodies were, in time, found carelessly dumped along I-70, the freeway the murderer traveled on his many “business trips.”
Baumeister’s warped life ended when he learned that he was found out, decided to do everybody a favor and shot himself in the head.
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