Watch CBS News

Modesto Woman Wonders If Missing Daughter Another 'Speed Freak' Victim

MODESTO (CBS13) — The mother of 14-year-old Susan Bender never thought her daughter could be among the possible victim of the "Speed Freak Killers." But now she's not sure.

As the scope of the potential search grows, so do the calls to bring in more resources.

For 26 years, Patricia Chupco has been certain a family acquaintance killed her daughter, who was last seen at a Greyhound bus station.

"I'm starting to think have I accused the wrong man all these years," she said.

Year after year, Chupco has put up fliers for her missing daughter.

"I haven't quit after all these year," she told CBS13. "I never will."

But a letter sent to CBS13 by death row inmate Wesley Shermantine stating some victims came from Modesto has Chupco desperate to know if her daughter is among the dead whose remains are hidden in wells in Linden.

Assembly member Cathleen Galgiani has introduced a bill to reimburse San Joaquin and Calaveras counties for the growing cost, already at $90,000 to search for and identify remains.

There are also concerns from some that the current search method with heavy equipment is crushing remains.

Galgiani wants the FBI to take over the search efforts.

"I think it's important to do everything in our power to bring these loved ones home," she said. "The FBI has worldwide expertise to draw in experts from university labs and other agencies.

More than 1,000 bone fragments were removed from one well, but Shermantine has told bounty hunter Leonard Padilla that investigators weren't at the right location. He says partner Loren Herzog dumped bodies in at least two other wells.

"This is a tremendous undertaking for the sheriff and he's done well, but this is beyond what anyone ever imagined," Galgiani said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.