You never know who you'll meet working in broadcast T.V. and that's one of the most exciting things about the job. Sometimes it's a random person that happened to show up to a meeting you were covering. Or it could be that MOS just around the corner. There're stories everywhere.
Sometimes it's a person you later find out is a monster.
Many don't know I am a HUGE true crime fan. 48 Hours, 60 Minutes, mysteries, murder, and anything serial killer really. So since I live in Indianapolis undoubtedly looked up the worst serial killer in the area. People don't know that Westfield Indiana was home to one of the most evil people to ever live, Herb "The I-70 Strangler" Baumeister.
Herb is know for taking young gay men from downtown Indianapolis back to his secluded home in Westfield and murdering them during their night caps. Drugs and sexual activities added to the confusion for the victims but ultimately he would strangle them by his indoor pool and dump the bodies in the back yard.
Later police concluded he may have killed as many as 11 people on his property, That number is also thought to be low. There were more than 5,000 bone fragments found on the property.
I bring this up because I work at WISH-TV I have access to a lot of the archival footage. So a simple search turned up a lot of news about the day the police searched Baumeister's property in the summer of 1996. Then there was a story titled "Raccoon Hit". What could this be? The copy states "Herb Baumeister of Carmel says...".
I went into the archives and dug up the tape. Put it in a tape player and BOOM there he was. Herb in May 1995. A good year an a half before he was found out for the terrible things he did, giving a sincere interview to one of our WISH-TV photographers. He was personable and smiling and even talked about his son. No where can you tell he was doing what he was doing. Which of course is what made him hard to catch. That photographer happened to see me watching the story and asked why I was looking at it. Then he saw Herb and told me about that day in his life.
He recalled Baumeister coming out from his house, meeting them in the front driveway with the Polaroid pictures of the raccoon. He then did the interview and you can hear him say at the end about the animal ran over by the DOT truck, "the poor thing deserved a better fate than that."
What a line from one of the most prolific serial killers to ever live.
This all brought questions to my mind. "Could I tell a serial killer from just an interviewee? What was he thinking during the interview? Did he go back to his house and say to himself 'Hope the news never shows up for real'?
Police would never find out the motive for the murders, or how many he actually killed. Baumeister killed himself before police could bring him in for questioning, leaving victims families without closure.
Othertimes, an interviewee comes to you. Someone you can tell just wants to talk to the news. You hope that happens especially when you are racing against the deadline clock.
Lauren Giddings and Steven McDaniel were friends at Mercer Graduate School. Giddings went missing after the two had graduated. While friends and family members of Lauren looked for her, Steven walked up to the news camera to talk about what he knows and how upset he was.
He was part of the search party. During the interview he proceeded to talk for at least 10 minutes. Towards the end you can see at one point the reporter told McDaniel police found a body in the dumpster. On the outside it looks like the young man is shaken, almost looked fake. Just hours later he was being interrogated by police and presented with a mountain of evidence against him, connecting him to the murder. He would eventually be convicted of the crime.
Again, would you be able to tell this was a murderer? This guy was being was hiding a horrible secret and yet he seemed collectedand able to hide his true emotions from people. Could you tell? Would I if I was on the other side of the mic?
I hope I never come face to face with evil like these two, but again you never know what character you could meet on any given day.