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Convicted killer Loren Herzog will return to San Joaquin County

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Loren Herzog

Posted: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 1:16 am

Convicted killer Loren Herzog is coming home to San Joaquin County, after all, when he is paroled Sunday.

Parole officials had planned to send the former Linden man to Tehama County, where he would be more than two hours away from the family members of Cyndi Vanderheiden. They had requested that the Clements woman’s admitted killer stay away from them.

On Monday, plans changed, said Luis Patino, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Parole officials reviewed victim rights laws and determined that Herzog can still return to his county of residence, as long as he stays 35 miles away from the Vanderheiden family.

“It’s just so depressing. It just makes us worry more,” said Theresa Vanderheiden, mother of the victim.

Her 25-year-old daughter disappeared in Nov. 1998 and has never been seen again. Herzog and his childhood friend Wesley Shermantine were convicted of multiple murders, and Shermantine is now sitting on death row. Herzog had been sentenced to 78 years in prison, but he won an appeal that threw out three of the four murder convictions, as well as much of the evidence. He then plea bargained to a 14-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter, and that time has now been served.

California law allows victims and their family members to have some role in deciding where convicts will be paroled. Officials had originally interpreted law to mean that Herzog must be at least 35 miles away from San Joaquin County.

However, on Monday parole officials determined the law refers to the family’s home, not the whole county in which they live.

He won’t be allowed in Lodi or other parts of the northern county, but Tracy and Ripon are roughly 42 and 38 miles, respectively, from Clements.

Theresa Vanderheiden wondered how parole agents will really know if Herzog crosses the invisible 35-mile barrier, noting that the state budget has caused cuts in every department.

“They told me that if he even spits on the sidewalk he’s going back (to prison), but who’s going to monitor it?” she asked.

Meanwhile, Red Bluff residents were relieved to learn that Herzog would not be living in Tehama County, south of Redding. They learned Monday morning of the parole plans, and some immediately took their concerns to the Internet. At least one person contacted a state assemblyman, seeking help in keeping Herzog from moving there.

April Bennett runs RedBluffIsMyTown.com, a blog for the Red Bluff Daily News that also feeds to a Facebook group, where residents were starting to protest the parole decision. She saw the Herzog name, and though she’s not from San Joaquin County, she remembered hearing about the case.

“We don’t want him here,” she said. “My condolences to the family. Being so far away and knowing how I feel and our community feels, I can’t imagine how hurt they feel. There’s really no place for a killer like that. I’m grateful that our community that doesn’t have to house him but I feel sorry for any community that will house him.”

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  • Cathleen Galgiani posted at 1:00 am on Mon, Aug 2, 2010.

    cathleen galgiani Posts: 3

    Kelly - I am very sorry for what happened to you and want to help you file a "stay away order." While I do not believe Herzog should be paroled at all, I am working with law enforcement to ensure that if he is paroled, those who were victims and witnesses know the process for filing "stay away orders". If we cant keep him in prison, we can ensure he wont be paroled within 35 miles of any of his victims. Please call my office at 209-948-7479, and I will help you through this process. I hope you will call me for assistance with this process.

  • Kelly DuBois posted at 8:42 am on Fri, Jul 23, 2010.

    Kelly DuBois Posts: 6

    What about us who testified? Can we keep him so many miles away from us as well?
    The justice system needs to stop and think what if it was their daughter that they had killed, would they let their killer go free probably not. My heart goes out to the Vanderheiden family this must seem like it is happening all over again, I am so sorry that we live in a screwed up system.

  • Kelly DuBois posted at 1:39 am on Fri, Jul 23, 2010.

    Kelly DuBois Posts: 6

    What protection do we have now against this killer? What about justice for Cyndi Vanderheiden? HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MINDS?

  • Kelly DuBois posted at 1:03 am on Fri, Jul 23, 2010.

    Kelly DuBois Posts: 6

    I have one question for Lorne, Why did you send Wes to my house that night before Cyndi was killed to go to Linden Inn? Never mind, I KNOW THE ANSWER Partner in crime!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kelly DuBois posted at 12:57 am on Fri, Jul 23, 2010.

    Kelly DuBois Posts: 6

    I am a witness for this case, mainly Shermintine. But I am terrified, can you imagine how I feel, being told that without testifying they would walk, so I go ahead becase theres no way they would ever be out of prison. WRONG!!! They wonder why people wont testify against people. YOU JUST LET THEM OUT TO POSSIBLY COME AFTER US!!!! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!! I WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN YOU CAN COUNT ON THAT. I think the justice system should re-evaluate the term JUSTICE FOR ALL

    "Woman who recalled brush with death". (Intended Victim)

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 10:04 am on Wed, Jul 21, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Testa admitted that his case against Herzog had been damaged by the recent 6th District Court of Appeal decision. It ruled that several police interrogations of Herzog were coercive, and it precluded Testa from using in the second trial much of the evidence he had argued in the first.

    This is why he has this opportunity to get out when he is. Maybe focus should be put on changing the rules and regulations if different results are desired. Maybe supporting politicians who can effect change in the system is a good start. Second, maybe someone with passion for this issue and others like this can run for office and influence legislation. The system is now difficult to change. Good people with the ways and means are needed. I hope good will result from this bad. Look what John Walsh and Mark Class have done. Maybe this can generate a spokeman for something good as well.

  • posted at 12:18 pm on Tue, Jul 20, 2010.


    I am saddened, distrubed and disgusted with our legal system. Just looking at this man's picture was unsettling, then to know he admittedly killed an innocent woman and now by winning an appeal gets to walk around, amoung us, a free man. What about justice for Cyndi Vanderheiden? What about justice for her family? How will they sleep at night knowing he's out there, free? I feel a little less safe now, I can only imagine how Cyndi's family feels. The courts are taking care of him because of his rights? What a joke. As far as I'm concerned he took a life, he has no rights. A cold-bolded killer is now free. I wonder if those who freed this man and those so concerned for his rights have their apologies ready for the families of his next victim.

  • Jason Wilkins posted at 10:00 am on Tue, Jul 20, 2010.

    Jason Wilkins Posts: 31

    What a complete travesty of justice all around. How is it possible that the person he committed the murders with is on death row and this murderer is now being paroled. Even a bigger disappointment is the fact that he can return to San Joaquin County. I agree with Christa, let's all do what we can to make our voices heard that there is no way this man should be paroled back to San Joaqin County.

  • posted at 6:58 am on Tue, Jul 20, 2010.



    San Joaquin County has a blog also!! Lets keep this guy out!!

  • posted at 6:54 am on Tue, Jul 20, 2010.


    I think that if Red Bluff can kick him out of there county why can't we. They got ahold of there sheriff why can't we do the same. I dont want him in San Joaquin County. I"m also pretty sure no one else does. (209) 468-4400 This number is to Sheriff Steve Moore he is the Sheriff for San Joaquin County. Please Call him also and let him no this man is not welcome here either!!!!!

  • devene page-baca posted at 2:58 am on Tue, Jul 20, 2010.

    Devene Page-Baca Posts: 2

    I am certainly not surprised to see this happen. As far as watching closely enough to see him spit, what a joke and insult to Terry and John. The police and parole agents were so over whelmed before he was incarcerated, how are they going to possibly monitor him now, with the budget cuts. I am certainly glad our 2nd amendment rights have not been taken away! The total disregard for the public is frightening to say the least.

  • Beth Azarcon posted at 11:32 am on Mon, Jul 19, 2010.

    Beth Azarcon Posts: 1

    This is pretty much BS. Good behavior my rear end! So you go and do that to an innocent girl, do 12 years and it's all good. I think that I agree with one of the readers, they should have been able to get Cyndi's remains recovered. That poor girl deserves to be laid to rest respectfully, not how they probably just tossed her like she was nothing. I hope and pray that one day she can be found and laid to rest properly. Loren should not be allowed to walk free PERIOD!

  • Larry Hamilton posted at 8:56 am on Mon, Jul 19, 2010.

    Larry Hamilton Posts: 50

    This guy is a serial killer. Letting him out is really just insane. Chances are he will do it again. The prison should have slit his throat and said a convict did it.

  • Barbra Casteel posted at 10:22 pm on Sun, Jul 18, 2010.

    Barbra Casteel Posts: 1

    This murderer is NOT welcome in our town and will be watched VERY closely by all the residents and officers in Red Bluff. I have lived here my whole life and I can say our officers are the best around and stand to protect us all. We are a tight community and all stick together in times of need. And this is for sure time of need. Justice has not been served here and I feel sorry for the family who lost their daughter and hope that she is found and can be laid to rest.

  • Jonathan Sherman posted at 8:12 pm on Sat, Jul 17, 2010.

    Jonathan Sherman Posts: 1

    I think if you kill someone you deserve the death penality

  • Alice Dodson posted at 8:14 am on Sat, Jul 17, 2010.

    Alice Dodson Posts: 20

    This is not justice. It is misjustice for the Vanderheiden family and everyone else who now has to worry about this killer being on the loose again. I don't care how great the police force is in Tehama county or anywhere else. He killed once without being caught prior to the act, he'll do it again. At least they could have gotten the location of Cyndi's body before considering parole. Laws are made to protect the guilty, not the innocent.

  • keith mead posted at 8:02 am on Sat, Jul 17, 2010.

    keith mead Posts: 5

    What a wonderful country we have. Only in America can you KILL multiple innocent people and still enjoy our greatest right .... FREEDOM ... this #$% ^&*# should never see the light of day again. What about our rights, now we have to worry about if he will KILL again. Now we must protect ourselves and our family. I am ashamed of our country and our JUSTICE SYSTEM.

  • Cheryl Adams posted at 5:45 am on Fri, Jul 16, 2010.

    Cheryl Adams Posts: 4

    I believe those guy should stay in prison for the killing of Cyndi.... The crimanal justice system sucks. It isn`t for the innocent. I have a whole lot more to say on the matter but I won`t.



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