More than two decades ago a Westfield business owner lived a seemingly routine life with his wife and three children on an 18-acre horse farm off 156th Street.
Little did his wife and three children know that while they were out of town, Herb Baumeister strangled several men, many of them teens, and buried their dead bodies in the woods on their property, Fox Hollow Farm.
The events would become one of the most notorious crimes in Indiana history, and over the years, the 11,000-square-foot Tudor-style house has had different owners who claimed the property was haunted. They would hear strange noises, get unsettling feelings and see apparitions.
Ghost hunters, national TV networks, filmmakers and curious visitors have frequented the farm to get a peek at where the gruesome crimes by the serial killer took place.
Now, anyone, particularly those intrigued by true crime and the supernatural, could own a piece of what was once the killer’s land.
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Noah Herron, the owner of Urban Vines Winery & Brewery and Urban Farmer in Westfield, bought 8 acres of the property just north of Baumeister’s former home and wants to sell three lots. He also wants to build a home for his family there.
The home itself and the remaining 10 acres of the Fox Hollow Farm estate are owned by Vicki and Rob Graves, who paid $987,000 for the property in the early 2000s after it was originally put on the market for $2.8 million
Herron brought his project at 156th Street and Oak Ridge Road before the Westfield City Council on Monday for consideration.
The council voted to send the proposed project to the advisory plan commission, and a public hearing will be in June, senior city planner Kevin Todd said.
Although Herron is well aware of the murders, he said the beauty and location of the property were too good to pass up.
“We asked neighbors around there if they’ve ever seen ghosts, and they said no. So we’re good,” Herron said. “We’re excited. The property is beautiful and right off the Monon Trail and close enough to downtown Westfield. A lot of people have already shown interest.”
Retro Indy:Heinous crimes of serial killers in Indiana
Herron said if the project is approved, his company will develop the infrastructure for three lots. Each will be 2 to 3 acres and start at $300,000.
“I wanted to make a joke at the council meeting and say that we hope we don’t find any bones while we’re building, but I decided to keep it professional,” Herron said. “Everyone in the area is familiar with what happened there, but still, people love the grounds and are interested in buying.”
According to IndyStar archives, Baumeister, 49, was the owner of Sav-A-Lot thrift stores. On June 24, 1996, investigators recovered more than 5,000 human bone fragments buried in the property.
Indiana investigators believe Baumeister was responsible for as many as 16 deaths of teenage boys and men who they believe he had picked up from bars in Indianapolis. The cause of death was thought to be strangulation.
He drove to Canada, where he shot and killed himself about a week after the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department began investigating the discovery of the bones.
Two years after Baumeister’s death, police concluded he also had killed nine other young men whose partially nude bodies were found dumped into shallow streams along I-70 across Central Indiana and western Ohio during the 1980s.
IndyStar reporter Natalia Contreras writes about things to do and development in Hamilton County. She can be reached at 317-444-6187 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter, @NataliaECG
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