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University of Indianapolis researchers hopeful with new effort to identify Herb Baumeister victims

In 1996, Robert Graves' property was the home of Herb Baumeister, who allegedly killed dozens of men and left their remains on the property.

WESTFIELD, Ind. — Monday, the Hamilton County coroner announced a new effort to help identify the remains of murder victims found at Fox Hollow Farm in 1996.

Robert Graves has lived on the property for the past 15 years.

"When we first got here, we decided that we were kind of trying to put all this behind us, but you can't get away from it," he said. "It's always that place."

In 1996, Graves' property was the home of Herb Baumeister, who allegedly killed dozens of men and left their remains on the property.

Remains he still uncovers to this day.

"We don't go looking for them, but they do turn up and I take them to the University of Indianapolis," he said.

"What we have is a large number of fragmented remains that were collected in 1996 and in several subsequent visits to the property," said Dr. Krista Latham, director of the University of Indianapolis' Human Identification Center. "We will have to conduct a very large-scale investigation in which DNA profiling is attempted on all of those samples because we have an open population. We are unsure how many people are represented."

The University of Indianapolis has the only full-time forensic anthropology lab in the state. In 1996, they were searching the woods for weeks behind Baumeister's home. They're excited there's a renewed interest in trying to find the identities of the remaining victims.

"We do have an estimated 10,000 samples that need to be addressed here and any of them have been damaged so that does make it more difficult to obtain a DNA profile from the sample," said Latham.

Credit: WTHR
An aerial view of the Fox Hollow property, the former home of Herb Baumeister.

They need the victims' family members to come forward.

"We have more unidentified human remains cases in the state of Indiana than we have family reference samples," said Latham. "That means in general. Not just from 26 years ago, but in general."

"I think it's a good thing," said Graves. "There's certainly a lot of families that don't have answers and maybe with a new technology, they can get some answers, because there's a lot of guys that are still not identified."

If you had a male relative go missing in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, you should contact the Hamilton County Coroner's Office at 317-770-4415 for a cheek-swab DNA sample.

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