March 6, 1994 – Convicted killer and Indiana native Larry William Eyler (41) died of complications related to AIDS in the infirmary of the Pontiac Correctional Center (IL). Two days after his death, Eyler’s defense attorney released a posthumous statement in which Eyler confessed to the murders of at least 21 young men. In the confession, he also alleged Robert David Little (52) of Terre Haute had been his accomplice in some of the killings, and was the sole person responsible for the death of Daniel Bridges. Little, an Indiana State University professor with whom Eyler had lived for seven years, was brought up on charges in connection with one of the murders but later acquitted. He then returned to teaching.
Few things in life are less reassuring than when local police announce seemingly apropos of nothing that, despite what you may have heard, there is not a serial killer preying on your community.
Many Indianapolis citizens were startled a few weeks ago when IMPD issued just such a statement in regard to a rumor making the rounds on local Facebook groups and chat boards at the time. According to a since-deleted post, a Twitter user stated an active serial killer has been targeting women and teenagers, claiming at least a dozen victims before dumping their bodies in wooded areas just south of I-465. The Twitter post then moved over to Facebook, where it was shared hundreds of times. However, authorities say the rumor is false and there is no evidence to support the allegations. “Detectives continue to investigate criminal cases looking at every reasonable motive,” asserted Officer Genae Cook.
As of last month, Indianapolis Metro Police had in excess of 5000 untested rape kits on their shelves, and more than 200 criminal homicides have occurred in their jurisdiction over the last year alone.
1996: Herb Baumeister Eats His Last Peanut Butter Sandwich
July 3, 1996 – Suspected serial killer Herb Baumeister kills himself with a single gunshot to the head rather than answer questions regarding human remains on his Westfield estate. In his suicide note, the founder of Sav-A-Lot thrift stores states his intention to eat his favorite snack, a peanut butter sandwich, and then “go to sleep.”
The remains of eleven men were found on his property, only eight of whom were eventually identified.
He is also suspected of being the I-70 Strangler, killing at least nine and dumping their bodies along the interstate between Indianapolis and Ohio.
“I’m very aware of what’s happening. I know that Mr. Agan isn’t. And I told him to make his peace with God… And, after waiting those few minutes, then Dave said, ‘Oh, kill the motherfucker.’ I then stabbed Mr. Agan and Dave took another snapshot. I stabbed Mr. Agan, then I stabbed Mr. Agan a couple or three times. I don’t know how many times. I just did them very quickly. And then Dave came over and then he took the knife from me and he stabbed Mr. Agan while he masturbated. And after he stabbed Mr. Agan a few times, then Mr. Agan went limp.”
– Larry Eyler, in a confession he gave to the court while pleading guilty to Steven Agan’s murder*
*Eyler’s alleged co-conspirator was found not guilty
Name: Joseph Weldon Brown
Known Aliases: (none)
Date of Birth: November 24, 1954
Claim to Infamy: Brown murdered Evansville resident Ginger Gasaway when she broke up with him and demanded the return of her car. After killing her, he dismembered her body with a reciprocating saw and discarded it in pieces around Posey, Gibson, and Warrick counties. While serving his life sentence for Gasaway’s murder, Brown confessed to killing thirteen others. Although some of the details he provided were able to be corroborated, no additional bodies were found to verify his claims. In 2011, he strangled another inmate to death at Miami Correctional Facility at Bunker Hill.
Indiana Connection: A native of Cynthiana, Brown was no stranger to Indiana law enforcement long before he murdered Ginger Gasaway. In 1977, he kidnapped, robbed, and assaulted a friend in Owensville. He had served 18 years of a life sentence for that crime when he was released to kill again.
Current Status: Serving life without the possibility of parole at the Westville Control Unit
Random Disturbing Fact: When the saw blade he was using to dismember Gasaway’s body broke, Brown walked into Home Depot splattered with blood and gore and calmly demanded an exchange. It was given to him, no questions asked.
“There is altogether too much cunning and humbug in this land. Honesty, sincerity, and righteousness last the longest. Where they are found to be on both sides everything will be all right.”
– Serial killer Belle Gunness, in an excerpt from a love letter she wrote to Andrew Heiglein. Heiglein was lured to her LaPorte farm under the guise of marriage, then robbed and murdered.
“It’s a good thing you caught me…there was going to be a blood bath.”
– Confessed serial killer Joe Brown to Sergeant Rick Reed, Evansville PD
Name: Larry William Eyler
Known Aliases: (none)
Murder Moniker: The Highway Killer
Date of Birth: December 21, 1952
Claim to Infamy: While in prison for the dismemberment and murder of Chicago teenager Danny Bridges, Eyler confessed to 21 other murders.
Indiana Connection: Born in Crawfordsville, Eyler later lived in Lebanon, Fort Wayne, and Terre Haute. Among other jobs he held, he was a Pinkerton guard at Marion County General Hospital and the manager of a public assistance program in Vigo County. Though he never earned a degree, he attended Indiana State University. Eyler hunted his victims and disposed of their mutilated bodies in several places in the state, as well as in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
Current Status: On March 6, 1994, Larry Eyler died in prison of complications from AIDS.
Random Disturbing Fact: In his confession, Eyler named at least two accomplices. They were never brought to justice.
Name: Herbert Richard “Herb” Baumeister
Known Aliases: Brian Smart, Brian Stats
Date of Birth: April 7, 1947
Claim to Infamy: Eleven bodies were found on Baumeister’s estate. He also suspected of being the I-70 Strangler.
Indiana Connection: Herb was born and raised in Indiana, where he continued to live and hunt humans until shortly before his death.
Current Status: Killed himself with a single shot to the forehead July 3, 1996
Random Disturbing Fact: Baumeister was fired from a position he held with the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles for repeatedly urinating in his boss’s desk.