WESTFIELD, Ind. — The Hamilton County Coroner's Office is asking for a renewed effort to identify the remains of more than a dozen people found in Westfield 26 years ago.
In 1996, deputies from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office searched the grounds of Fox Hollow Farm, located near 156th Street and U.S. 31.
Deputies found thousands of decomposed and charred remains of what is believed to be from at least 25 people.
The coroner's office said Herbert Baumeister, who owned the property where the remains were found, is suspected of luring gay men to his home and then killing them.
Baumeister died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound shortly after the investigation started.
Eight victims have been identified so far, thanks to the assistance of the University of Indianapolis Archeology and Forensic Lab, leaving at least 17 others that remain unidentified.
"These remains represent people. For the past 26 years, these people have been placed on a shelf at the University of Indianapolis, and that is not acceptable," Chief Deputy and Coroner-elect Jeff Jellison said. "We need to make every effort possible to identify these people and return them to their loved ones."
Jellison said the coroner's office needs comparison samples to help identify the nearly 10,000 bones and bone fragments that were found at Fox Hollow Farms.
"If anyone is a family member of a male individual that went missing in the mid-80s to mid-90s, we need you to step forward and provide us with a DNA sample. The process is quick, simple, and only involves swabbing the inside of the cheek," Jellison said.
The Hamilton County Coroner's Office is working alongside investigators with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, Fishers Police Department DNA Unit, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Missing Persons Division, Indiana State Police Biology Unit, the University of Indianapolis' Archeology and Forensic Lab, and deputies from the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office.
"We have a huge job in front of us; however, I have confidence this team of police officers and forensic specialists will exhaust all efforts to identify the individuals that were brutally murdered and discarded on Herb Baumeister’s property," Jellison said.
Anyone who has a relative of a missing person who may be connected to the case is asked to call the Hamilton County Coroner's Office at 317-770-4415.