Man arrested in 15-year-old murder |

Man arrested in 15-year-old murder

by Merrie Leininger

A California man has been charged with a 15-year-old Alpine County murder.

Henry Howell, 41, of Santa Clara, Calif., was found shot dead in the early morning hours of Sept. 1, 1984 next to his car on Highway 88.

Loren Herzog, 33, of Linden, Calif., was charged with five murders this month.

He and a high school buddy, Wesley Shermantine Jr., 33, of Stockton, were arrested March 18 in connection with the murder, kidnapping and rape of Cyndi Vanderheiden, 25, of Clements, Calif., who has been missing since Nov. 14. Her body still has not been found.

Shermantine was also arrested in connection with the murder of Chevelle Wheeler, 16, who disappeared in 1985.

Herzog was also arrested in connection with the September 1985 murder of Roberta “Robin” Ray Armtrout and the November 1984 double murder of Henry King, 34, of Lathrop and Raymond Cavanaugh, 31, of Stockton. The men were found shot to death next to King’s car just east of Stockton.

Arraignments were scheduled for March 30 in a court in Stockton.

n Alpine investigation. Sheriff Henry Veatch said after two men were arrested in San Joaquin County, Calif., he sent a deputy to investigate any possible connection.

“I got a call Sunday night that said the people arrested, or one of them, may have been involved, and I sent a deputy there, but he didn’t come up with anything concrete,” Veatch said.

He said the forensic evidence has been turned over to state and federal crime labs.

Veatch said the case is one of two unsolved murders the department reassigned every couple of years to look for new developments.

Henry Howell, a Native American, who at the time lived in Santa Clara, Calif., in the Bay area, was apparently driving home from a gambling trip to Stateline.

One early September morning, the sheriff’s office got a call that a man was lying next to a car on Highway 88 in the Hope Valley area.

Veatch said he was one of the deputies who responded to the call that night to find the man shot to death.

“We followed what leads we had and didn’t come up with any forensic evidence in the vehicle at the time. We are now hoping the state and federal crime labs will be able to assist in processing the technical and scientific side of whatever else was collected,” Veatch said.

He said it could be weeks or months until the crime labs give Alpine County results of their investigations.

n Randal Thompson of the Lodi (Calif.,) News-Sentinel contributed to this story.