Gay Serial Killer Suspect's Estate Turns Up Two More DNA Samples

Police Extract Two More DNA Samples in I-70 Strangler Case
Police Extract Two More DNA Samples in I-70 Strangler Case

Indiana State Police have extracted two DNA profiles from human remains found on the property of the late suspected gay serial killer Herbert Baumeister. Baumeister, a wealthy Republican businessman who was married with three children, was suspected of killing over 20 boys and young men he met at or around gay bars during the 1980s and ’90s. Baumeister died by suicide in 1996 at a public park in Canada after police searched his 18-acre Fox Hollow Farm estate in Westfield outside of Indianapolis and issued a search warrant for his arrest.

“They’re now doing the comparison samples and fast-tracking that process now that we have modern DNA,” Hamilton County Coroner Jeff Jellison told local Fox affiliate WXIN.

Jellison said investigators believe the over 10,000 charred bones and fragments could be the remains of at least 25 people. During the original investigation in the 1990s, forensics extracted 11 human DNA samples, of which eight, all young men, were identified and matched. The two new DNA profiles will be compared against existing DNA samples provided by the family of young men who went missing in the area from the mid-1980s to 1996.

According to investigators, Baumeister was leading a deadly double life. While he appeared to be a loving husband and father and a successful businessman, he’s also suspected of cruising local gay bars for young men he’d lure back to his estate and strangle to death.

Police also believe Baumeister was the I-70 strangler, a serial killer who killed 11 young men and boys and dumped their bodies throughout Indiana and Ohio between June 1980 and October 1991. Investigators noted the discovery of bodies from the I-70 Strangler stopped when Baumeister bought his estate in Fox Hollow Farm, leading them to believe he continued killing but used the estate as his new dumping ground.

In 1994, Baumeister’s 13-year-old son Erich found a human skull and a collection of bones while playing on the family’s Fox Hollow Farms estate. According to a 1996 interview with People, Baumeister’s wife Julia said her husband explained the bones were from an old medical skeleton used by his late father, an anesthesiologist. She also revealed the couple had engaged in sexual intercourse only three times in their marriage and that she had never seen him fully naked. The couple ran the successful Sav-A-Lot chain of stores, allowing them to move into the exclusive Fox Hollow Farms.

Julie said she forgot about the incident until November of the following year when police asked for permission to search the property as part of their investigation into a string of killings targeting young gay men in the area. Police said a young man had identified Baumeister as the man who had suffocated him to the brink of death during a sexual tryst at the estate. The Baumeisters refused the request, but Julie later consented while Herbert was out of town in June 1996. His body was found with a single gunshot wound to the head on July 3, 1996, at a public park in Ontario, Canada.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned that someone you know may be, resources are available to help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 is for people of all ages and identities. Trans Lifeline, designed for transgender or gender-nonconforming people, can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The lifeline also provides resources to help with other crises, such as domestic violence situations. The Trevor Project Lifeline, for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger), can be reached at (866) 488-7386. Users can also access chat services at or text START to 678678.