“San Joaquin Sheriff Moore acting like a B movie stereotype”
San Joaquin County’s sheriff might have felt frustrated, even embarrassed, that bodies were found in his jurisdiction in 2012 because of the work of a bounty hunter rather than his deputies. But Sheriff Steve Moore’s egotistical, territorial obstruction of outside law enforcement only makes him look worse as investigators try to determine whether their cases might also be the work of the “Speed Freak Killers.”
Moore is acting like a bad-cop stereotype in a B movie. He needs to start acting like a 21st century professional and take pride in helping to solve horrific crimes that haunt the families of victims missing for decades.
Relatives deserve to know if Terri Ann Fourcher, last seen in Reno in 1996 at age 28, and Michaela Garecht, abducted at age 9 from Hayward in 1988, were victims in the drug-fueled killing sprees of Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog.
In rare public airings of law enforcement disputes, police detectives from Hayward and Reno, Nevada, complain in court records that Moore blocked their attempts to get answers.
Convicted of four murders, Shermantine is on death row at San Quentin Prison. Herzog’s convictions were overturned in 2004; he was paroled in 2010 and committed suicide in 2012. Investigators believe there were 20 or more victims.
In 2012, bounty hunter Leonard Padilla and retired FBI agent Jeff Rinek convinced Shermantine to provide maps showing where some were buried.
Moore first resisted attempts to bring Shermantine, under guard, to the county to pinpoint locations. When the sheriff’s department finally started digging, it used backhoes, commingling body parts and destroying evidence. Rinek says the sheriff’s office sabotaged the crime scene as a cover-up because it thought it had deleted missing-person files and wanted to make sure remains couldn’t be identified.
And if that’s not enough:
Recently retired Hayward police Detective Kevin Atkins said Moore and his office stonewalled efforts to determine if unearthed shoes might be Garecht’s.
Reno Detective Allan Fox said that, despite an informant linking Herzog to the Fourcher case, Moore’s office has denied access to case files. The sheriff expressed anger that Fox was investigating in San Joaquin County.
Similarly, state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, said the sheriff was angry when she gave him letters Shermantine wrote in 2010 explaining where bodies could be found.
And San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa received calls from investigators and from friends and family of missing persons complaining that the sheriff wouldn’t help them determine if Shermantine and Herzog were involved.
Moore needs to change course 180 degrees. Perhaps his fellow sheriffs should offer a reality check. Moor’s unprofessional conduct is giving the elected office a bad name.