SCATHING SUMMARY JUDGEMENT
by Marty Carlson
Joanne Hobson was last seen in Stockton California in August 1985. She had left her east Stockton home in the middle of the night while her mother is at work. She did not take any extra clothing or money. Eventually the “Speed Freak Killers”, Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog became suspects in Joanne’s case.
Shermantine and Herzog were arrested and charged of the brutal slaying a Cindy Vanderheiden, in Linden California. As a result of those charges and conviction new information became available in regard to other victims of these two killers. Eventually finding out Joanne Hobson was also a victim.
In March 2012 San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore announced in a press conference they had located the remains of Joanne Hobson and two other victims on a property in Linden California.
A report from a lab in Chico that had examined the remains, stated that the remains given to Hobson’s mother, Joan Shelley, were mingled with the other victims remains.
The victim’s family feels the Sheriff’s Department gave the other victims family Joanne’s remains, at least in part.
After some time, the Hobson family felt the need to file a lawsuit against San Joaquin County, among others, Sheriff Steve Moore.
Stating in the lawsuit “the remains of Joanne Hobson have been irreparably destroyed and desecrated by the actions of the defendants in co-mingling them with the remains of other victims.”
The family is asking for damages due to negligence and emotional distress, due to the fact they are unable to put their daughter to rest not knowing if it’s her.
A retired FBI agent who was familiar with the case, was quoted in the media as saying, “Sheriff Steve Moore violated public trust in the manner the remains were recovered.” He went on to say “it was bad on every imaginable level” and feels that the lawsuit is appropriate.
San Joaquin County had been asking for dismissal in the lawsuit in the summary judgment phase. Last week the judge ruled in that summary judgment and was very critical of San Joaquin County’s Sheriff Steve Moore.
Some of the highlights made by United States District Judge Morrison C. England were:
As reported by 209 TIMES see 209times here
1. The San Joaquin County Sheriff developed information in 2004 which could have led to the recovery of victims from the Detective’s interview, but did not follow up.
2. The SJC Sheriff was provided information from Wesley Shermantine himself in 2010, including maps that detailed out the location at the Linden well. They disregarded the information and cancelled missing persons’ records, including JoAnn Hobson’s on September 10, 2010.
3. The SJC Sheriff was again provided information in 2012 and initially stopped any efforts to locate victims but due to public pressure followed up in February, 2012.
4. The SJC Sheriff claimed to have no prior information on the Linden well but knew exactly which victim family to bring to the site. The fact that they knew which family to bring to a specific indicates they had detailed information, contrary to what they state,
5. In all the time they had the information about the Linden well site, the SJC Sheriff sought no information, researched no information, and ignored all assets available in the state and nation, including the FBI, and ignored and excluded their own expert forensic pathologist.
6. When faced with conducting the recovery, the San Joaquin Department of Public Works superintendent advised the soil was “extremely stable” which would have enabled skilled forensic workers to recover the victims. Jill Spriggs and a coworker actually entered the site.
7. The SJC Sheriff used a heavy excavator to dig through the filled in well, and when faced with the fact that victims were in the well, they made the shocking and callous choice to dig through the victims with the excavator, causing shock and emotional harm to the victims and witnesses.
8. While reporting victim items located beyond thirty-five feet preventing forensic processing, it is apparent from pictures taken by Cal DOJ personnel that victim items were encountered at a shallow depth and therefore demonstrating the availability of forensic processing to the Linden well site.
9. SJC Sheriff Steve Moore testified that he made no decisions and did not have information about the recovery, yet his assistant staff, Ruben Orosco testified that he briefed Moore frequently on a daily basis about all events related to the recovery. It is believed that the SJC Sheriff made the foundational decisions that led to the callous, indifferent, and utter destruction of the Linden well site.
10. The SJC Sheriff used an anthropologist that was not a forensic pathologist. The anthropologist based her findings on DNA and dental indentifications and caused rampant comingling of the victims’ remains.
11. Chanda Bassett eventually made three “piles” of bones to reflect the suspected number of victims recovered from the well, and considered the cremation as indigent, the third unidentified victim and her fetus.
12. The SJC Sheriff tried to influence victim’s families to cremate returned remains thereby destroying evidence of the comingling.
13. On September 10, 2010, the SJC Sheriff cancelled several missing person people’s records in the National Crime Information Center and the California Law Enforcement Teletype System including the record of JoAnn Hobson.
14. It is possible the third unidentified victim from the Linden well cannot be identified because her missing persons record was cancelled.
15. The cancellations occurred three days after the San Joaquin Sheriff received information from Wesley Shermantine providing details as to unrecovered victim locations.
16. Chanda Basset is unable to locate many missing people’s records after receiving inquiries from families.
I am personally familiar somewhat, with these shit heads that killed this young lady, I spent many days in the courtroom with them on the Vanderheiden case. That was a time when they started talking about each other. And I know at one time there was an offer made to the Vanderheiden family by Wesley Sherman time to reveal the location of her daughter if they take the death penalty off the table. This guy was a real piece of work in a real shift head, and not much of a real man.
I also have known this family for a long time, and they have been good hard-working people all their lives. I’ve had several conversations with the mother of the victim about this subject over the years, and it’s been very difficult for her, as there is nothing like losing a child. And now it’s been 32 years later and they still cannot put JoAnn to rest. The actions of everyone involved, especially Sheriff Steve Moore, is unforgivable and needs to be addressed in the family needs to be compensated.