Nearly three decades after her disappearance, investigators may have solved the mystery of 16-year-old Chevelle "Chevy" Wheeler.
The San Joaquin County, Calif., Sherriff's Office conducted a search for human remains after information from death row inmate and infamous "Speed Freak Killer" Wesley Shermantine, led authorities to the burial ground of the missing teen.
San Joaquin Sherriff Steve Moore called the Wheeler residence in Crossville, Tenn., Friday morning, to inform them that a skull and other human remains, along with clothes matching the description of what Chevy Wheeler was last seen wearing, had been found.
"Police said they had a diagram from the guy that killed my daughter and they went out and did some digging," said Raymond Wheeler, Chevy's father. "I just can't believe that devil decided to speak out over 20 years later."
Investigators, using specially trained dogs, began their search Thursday along after Stockton Record reporter Scott Smith tipped them off with information and a detailed map of where victims' remains were buried. Smith had been in contact with Shermantine for years and during an exchange of letters the convicted killer confessed to where he and childhood friend Loren Herzog hid human remains.
The locations included property that once belonged to the Shermantine family, along with a well in an old cattle ranch labeled by Shermantine as "Loren's boneyard" for his accomplice.
"Thursday we found a first set of remains, and after preliminary tests conducted on a partial skull we're led to believe they may be that of Cyndi Vanderheiden," said Deputy Les Garcia of the San Joaquin Sheriff's Office.
Vanderheiden was 25 years old when she was last seen in front of her Linden, Calif., home in 1998. Garcia said her family members were also contacted and were informed that these were just preliminary findings. He also told ABC News that these remains were found about a quarter of a mile away from property once owned by Shermantine's family in Calaveras County, Calif..
A second search conducted Friday on property that formerly belonged to Shermantine and his family led to a second set of partial human remains along with articles of clothing.
"The clothes they found match the exact description of what Chevy was wearing that day my wife dropped her off at school," Wheeler said. "My wife still remembers exactly what she had on the last time we saw her."
The girl's father was also told by investigators that the remains were found wrapped inside a blanket and that DNA tests conducted by the Department of Justice would provide a positive identification.
Paula Wheeler drove her daughter to school the morning she went missing. Her husband told ABC News that his daughter's last words to her mother were, "Goodbye mom, I love you."
That day would be the last time they saw their daughter. She decided to cut school and left with Shermantine after he drove up to the school and she got inside his pick-up truck.
"I warned her about that boy and told her to stay away from him," Wheeler said. "She was a good kid and I don't know why she let herself get influenced by someone like him."