MANTECA -- Joan Shelley later this month will at long last hold a memorial ceremony for her daughter, Joann Hobson, killed 27 years ago after she sneaked away from home during the night.
Shelley said this week that she will use her daughter's memorial to urge officials to continue searching for other victims of Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog, a drug-addled killing duo from Linden.
Shelley also plans to memorialize an unidentified teenager apparently pregnant at her death whose remains were recovered Feb. 12 from the same Linden well as her daughter and another teenager.
In addition to the grief Shelley feels for her daughter, she's also unsettled by the trouble investigators are having in finding out who the third girl is.
"I want her to be prayed over too," Shelley said Wednesday. "Hopefully
that family will be able to get some closure, and that baby and its momma can be put to rest."
The grisly discovery at the well set forensic anthropologists on the tedious job of sorting through 1,000 bone fragments.
They identified the remains of Hobson, who vanished in 1985 at age 16, and Kimberly Billy, who disappeared 1984 at age 19. They lived in the same east Stockton neighborhood.
Investigators say the unidentified girl was of "mixed ancestry" between the ages of 16 and 18, and 5-foot-1 to 5-foot-4 inches tall.
Remains of a fetus between 28 and 32 weeks of gestation were also found, but investigators have yet to conclusively link the fetus with the teen.
Officials excavated the well based on tips from Shermantine, who sent directions and hand drawn maps to The Record from his cell on death row at San Quentin State Prison. Those tips also led to the recovery of Cyndi Vanderheiden and Chevelle "Chevy" Wheeler, both buried in Calaveras County.
Shermantine remains on death row, while Herzog, on Jan. 17, committed suicide after learning that Shermantine had begun to give up incriminating information.
Efforts to recover more of the killers' victims appear to have stalled, said Shelley, who has personally visited Shermantine, asking for his help. She's not alone.
This week, Stockton's Sue Kizer, who believes her daughter, Gayle Marks, 18, fell victim to Shermantine and Herzog in 1988 sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown seeking action.
"I do not want to die before I CAN BRING MY DAUGHTER HOME," Kizer wrote. "I am asking you, please help us."
Deputy Les Garcia, a spokesman for San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore, said their office hasn't let the effort drop, but deputies won't dig for the sake of digging. They need credible tips, he said.
Sacramento bounty hunter Leonard Padilla, who is paying Shermantine for the information, said he believes there's more finds to be made. He's now focused on hunting down the name of the unidentified woman.
For her part, Shelley said she almost lost her mind upon learning that investigators unearthed remains from the Linden well. Making funeral arrangements has again drained her emotionally, she said.
Shelley said she feels heartbroken whenever she thinks of the 27 years her daughter spent at the bottom of a cold, dark well.
The funeral home obtained her daughter's remains Tuesday, and they'll be cremated. After the memorial, Shelley said she'll bring them to her Manteca home and keep them close.
Shelley has asked her two surviving daughters to bury her together with Joann's remains when the time comes.
"You know, it's been so long since we had her," Shelley said. "That way she won't be leaving me no more."