Teens Linked to Vampire Cult Arrested on Murder Charges
Nov. 29, 1996
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ Five teen-agers believed to members of a Kentucky ``vampire cult'' were being held in jail today in connection with the bludgeoning deaths of one of the youngster's parents.
The teen-agers were arrested Thursday night as they tried to check into a hotel. Police said they laid a trap for the young fugitives after one of them called home for money.
Richard Wendorf, 49, and Naoma Ruth Wendorf, 53, were found dead Monday night in Eustis, Fla. Their daughter, Heather Wendorf, 15, was one of those arrested.
Her father's blue 1994 Ford Explorer was missing when Miss Wendorf's sister found her parents' bodies in separate rooms of their rural home about 20 miles northwest of Orlando, the Lake County, Fla., sheriff's office said.
The teen-agers were in that vehicle when they were arrested in Louisiana, sheriff's Sgt. Cecil Garrett said. Extradition proceedings were to begin Monday with a court hearing.
Miss Wendorf had told friends she was a demon in past lives and had talked with spirits during human blood-drinking rituals.
Police in western Kentucky, where the other four suspects are from, said the teens were involved in vampire-like activities.
``They cut each other's arms and suck the blood. They cut up small animals and suck the blood,'' Sgt. Mike Jump of the Murray, Ky., police said Thursday. ``They honestly believe they're vampires.''
There was no evidence of bizarre rituals in the deaths, authorities said.
Roderick Ferrell, 16, and Dana Cooper, 19, both of Murray, and Scott Anderson, 16, of Mayfield, Ky., were arrested on murder warrants along with Miss Wendorf, whom investigators originally feared had been abducted by her parents' killers.
Charity Keesee, 16, was charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact. Her hometown was not immediately available.
Miss Wendorf is a granddaughter of James Wendorf, a 75-year-old retired lawyer for the Billy Graham organization. Ferrell had lived in Florida and attended high school with her before dropping out last year and moving back to Kentucky, according to news reports.
From what authorities and schoolmates told the Orlando Sentinel, Ferrell and Miss Wendorf dated for two years and both stood out in their rural communities. He sported shoulder-length black hair, wore a black trench coat, carried a wooden stick and boasted of immortality as a vampire. She wore purple hair, black fishnet stockings and a dog chain around her neck.
Police in Kentucky suspect the teen-agers' cult, ``The Vampire Clan,'' has about 30 members.
The arrests followed a call on Thursday from Keesee to her mother in South Dakota, investigators said. The mother then called Calloway County, Ky., Sheriff Stan Scott.
``You can imagine how she felt having to do this,'' Scott said.
The girl told her mother that the group was somewhere in Louisiana and had run out of money. She told her mother about seeing a ``big battleship.'' The U.S.S. Kidd is located in Baton Rouge, and Scott alerted authorities there.
Miss Keesee's mother told Scott that the teens were near a Howard Johnson's hotel. If the girl called back, Scott told her to have the teens go to the hotel so she could arrange to pay for a room for them.
``Believe it or not, they fell for it,'' Scott said. ``I still can't believe it.''
The teens were arrested without incident as they tried to check in.
``I'd rather have it happen this way, than have it go down in some shootout on the highway in a traffic stop,'' Scott said.
Baton Rouge Police Cpl. Don Kelly said the teens have what appear to be self-inflicted cuts on their arms.
``Other than that they have not exhibited any vampirish behaviors,'' he said. Some of them wore black, but ``they're not in black capes and fangs.
``They just look like screwed-up kids. There's no shortage of those.''