SUSANVILLE – Parolee Loren Herzog, 46, was found dead at his trailer on state property outside the perimeter of High Desert State Prison (HDSP) on January 16, 2012, at approximately 11 p.m.
Herzog’s parole agent had been alerted by the GPS system that Herzog’s monitoring ankle bracelet was indicating a low battery. The agent notified the institution after he attempted to contact Herzog but was unable to make phone contact. HDSP staff responded to the residence and discovered Herzog unresponsive. The scene was secured and the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office was called in to investigate the scene. The death is being investigated as a possible suicide. The exact cause of death is unknown, pending a complete autopsy.
The death is now under review by the Lassen County District Attorney’s Office, the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Investigative Services Unit at HDSP. The Office of Inspector General, Bureau of Independent Review, was notified.
Herzog was on parole after serving a 14-year determinate sentence for voluntary manslaughter, three counts of being an accessory to a felony, and one count for transportation of a controlled substance. Herzog and Wesley Shermantine were originally convicted of numerous first-degree murder charges, including the 1998 rape and murder of Cyndi Vanderheiden. Herzog had been sentenced to 78-years-to-life (three consecutive 25-to-life terms plus three years for being an accessory to a felony). In 2004, a state appellate court threw out the three murder convictions and much of the evidence against Herzog. It led to a plea bargain and Herzog pleaded guilty to the voluntary manslaughter charge. Shermantine remains on death row.
Herzog, has been living in a trailer outside HDSP since September 2010, when he was administratively paroled to Lassen County due to victims’ requests. Upon his parole for time served, Herzog was required to follow several strict conditions of parole. Among those was active monitoring by parole agents using a Global Positioning System monitor. He was also required to maintain strict curfews and abide by a strict no-contact list.