Herb Baumeister

Herb Baumeister: The American Alleged Serial Killer


This is an article about American alleged serial killer Herb Baumeister (April 7, 1947 – July 3, 1996). Baumeister was responsible for murdering 11 men (confirmed), with 9 others suspected (although some sources say 10 others). The murders occurred over a span of 16 years (1980s – 1996).

Warning: This article contains some extremely disturbing content. Like our previous post about a twisted serial killer, we recommend you do not share any of this information with your children.

The Early Years

Herbert Richard Baumeister was born in Indianapolis, Indiana (1947). Although he had a normal childhood, by the time he had reached his teens, things began to head in the wrong direction.

As a teenager, Baumeister was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Unfortunately, his behavior went from normal, to extremely bizarre. Witnesses would see the young man would play would deceased animals, and even urinate on a teacher’s desk. You would think his diagnosis and very unusual behavior would make his parents seek help for their son. However, this was not the case.

The Start Of A Successful Business

In the early 1970s, Baumeister married and then went on to have three children. In 1988, he founded the Sav-A-Lot thrift store chain (not to be confused with Save-A-Lot supermarket chain). With a total of two stores, the business was a huge success that made Baumeister a very rich man.

Of course, if you are reading about this shocking story for the first time, you would think that Herb Baumeister was a normal person with a perfectly normal life. However, despite being married, a father to 3, and running a successful business, he had a dark side no one was aware of at the time.

The Investigation

With reports regarding the disappearances of several gay men in the Indianapolis area, police began an investigation that would eventually help identify a killer. In 1992, a man contacted police to report the murder of his friend. He claimed that a gay bar patron by the name of “Brain Smart” was not only responsible for killing his friend, but also for attempting to kill him. Unfortunately, the information wasn’t enough for the police. They advised the man to contact them if he were to ever see him again. In the mid-1990s, the man got lucky. He spotted the vehicle of Baumeister and was able to write the license plate number down. He provided the license number to the police.

Thanks to the license registry, it was determined that the killer’s name was not “Brian Smart.” His real name was Herb Baumeister. This sent police directly to his home to conduct a search. Although Baumeister was told he was a suspect in the disappearances of several men in the Indianapolis area, he refused to allow them to search his home. The determined investigators would then attempt to ask his wife for permission. Like her husband, she also refused the search.

Baumeister allegedly hung out at gay bars while his wife was at home taking care of their 3 kids. Although he had a secret life and spent a lot of his time at gay bars, his wife never seemed to figure it all out. You can definitely say the woman was quite gullible. However, in 1996, she began to fear her husband. He would display some unpredictable behavior, as well as mood swings that lead her to file for divorce. She then decided to contact the police to give permission to search their home.

What Investigators Found

While Baumeister was on vacation, police were finally able to conducted their search. They likely didn’t expect to find the remains of 11 men. It was now time for police to find this sick serial killer.

The Suicide

Unfortunately, there was never an arrest made for the murders. Baumeister was able to escape to Canada. He then decided to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head. It is undetermined exactly why he chose to take off to Canada just to end up killing himself. Although Baumeister did leave a suicide note, he did not mention anything about the many murders he had committed. Instead, he blamed his failed marriage and business as his reason for choosing to commit suicide.

How Baumeister Got Away With Murdering So Many Men

According to some sources, Baumeister’s wife would occasionally take the kids to spend the weekend at a lake. Instead of going on the trip with his family, Baumeister would tell his wife he had to go to Ohio for a business trip. He would then pick up men from a variety of gay bars, bring them back to his mansion, and then strangle them to death. He would use the woods behind his home to dispose of their bodies. In addition to the 11 men found in Baumeister’s backyard, police believed there were 9 (or possibly 10) more bodies located somewhere in Indiana and Ohio.


Of course, when a murder is committed, the family and friends of the victims will usually seek justice. They want the killer to be punished for their evil actions. However, what is so sad about this particular case, is that Baumeister was never even convicted (or even arrested) for his horrific crimes. He chose to be a coward and escape the serious consequences by shooting himself in the head. It is too bad that serial killer Herb Baumeister managed to get away with so many murders.

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About Joseph Caltabiano

Joseph Caltabiano is a writer, oddities lover and a former surgical technologist. He left the field of surgical technology to pursue a career in blogging and internet marketing. As clearly shown in his posts, Joseph is very passionate about unusual topics. His two most favorite topics are medical and weird science.