Original news report:
MURRAY, Kentucky: (AP) -- For years, this quiet college town was perhaps best known as home of the national Boy Scout museum. Now it is newly notorious, and its residents increasingly afraid, with the discovery that some of its teens belonged to a vampire cult. The news that four area teen-agers are suspected of beating a Florida couple to death was frightening enough. Now prosecutors say the youths were involved in a strange role-playing game that went much too far -- from the mutilation of animals to drinking each other's blood and eventually to murder. Few would discuss the case with outsiders, but the cult was the hot topic of hushed gossip among residents. "People are talking about it," said Greg Duncan, sipping coffee at the Hungry Bear restaurant. "Some people are afraid." Details remain sketchy but the secretive cult known as "The Vampire Clan" is believed to have been active in Murray, where members were suspected of breaking into an animal shelter and mutilating two puppies. "The fear of the unknown is always greater than the fear of the known," said another man at the Hungry Bear, who refused to give his name.
Murray, a semi-rural town of about 13,000, lies in southwestern Kentucky near the Tennessee state line. Murray State University is there, a 8,300-student school known for its basketball program. Now the town is linked to three Murray teens arrested along with another youth from nearby Mayfield. All four, along with the daughter of the slain couple, were arrested on Thanksgiving night in Baton Rouge, La. All are suspected in the Nov. 25 slayings of Richard and Naoma Wendorf of Eustis, Fla.
Police say Rod Ferrell met the Wendorf's 15-year-old daughter, Heather, when he lived in Eustis with his father. Ferrell, 16, moved back to Murray last year to live with his mother.
It was Ferrell who police think broke into the animal shelter, stomping one dog to death and pulling the legs off another. Neighbors at the public housing complex where he lived say they never noticed anything unusual about him or his mother, Sondra Gibson. Yet Ms. Gibson is herself charged with solicitation to commit rape. Police say she wrote to a 14-year-old, inviting sex and hinting she was involved in vampire-type activity. "I longed to be near you ... to become a Vampire, a part of the family immortal and truly yours forever," the letter reads. "You will then come for me and cross me over and I will be your bride for eternity and you my sire." Accused with Ferrell and Ms. Wendorf of killing the Wendorfs are Dana Cooper, 19, of Murray, and Scott Anderson, 16, of Mayfield. Charity Keesee, 16, of Murray was charged with being an accessory to murder. Extradition proceedings in Baton Rouge are to begin Monday. Calloway County prosecutor David Harrington described Ms. Cooper as a "follower, someone who wanted to be liked. Probably easily manipulated." A young woman stopped in a grocery store who graduated from Calloway County High School with Ms. Cooper last year said the girl craved attention. "But this vampire stuff?" she asked, refusing to give her name. "There was nothing that suggested that. She was just strange."
Harrington said the youths were involved in an on-going role-playing game, but that Ferrell had begun to take the vampire game more seriously, scaring others into quitting. "The animal shelter thing was the first visible sign he had gone beyond game-playing," Harrington said, refusing to disclose more details because the accused are minors. Perhaps the most frightened man in town was Ferrell's grandfather, Harold Gibson. But his fears were for his grandson, not of the youth, whom he insisted was not the group's leader. And he said he fears for himself. "What if they come after me?" Gibson said at his home Saturday, suddenly overcome by tears. "They're saying Rod is a monster. A monster! He's not a monster, he's not." Harrington was eager to write off the lurid story as an isolated escapade. "I think you had a group of kids that just wanted to be a part of something, wanted to belong to a group," he said. "And it went too far. Hopefully, it's over."
Rod was the self proclaimed leader of the 30 plus members of the clan. He called himself Vesago, after the devil worshiper in the movie Hideaway. He also thought that he was better than a vampire, and that he was an immortal demon. He's very intelligent. His mother, Sondra Gibson, was arrested under suspicion of having sex with a 14 year old boy not long before he was arrested. His grandfather has been reported saying "He is a good boy." "This is a conspiracy."
For two years, Ferrell held the record as the youngest inmate on death row until September 1999, when the Florida Supreme Court reduced his sentence to life without parole.
Ferrell is serving his sentence at the New River West Correctional Institution as inmate DC# 124473.
Charity Keesee, also known as Shea, was Rod Ferrell's girlfriend at the time of the arrest. Also at the time of the arrest she was around 2 months pregnant, although, she lost the baby not long after. Most people describe Charity as being the shy girl that sat in the corner. Charity's phone call to her mother eventually led to their arrest in Louisiana. She called her mother telling her that they were in Louisiana and were out of money. Her mother told her to have everyone check into a hotel, and have the clerk call her and set up a way to pay for the room.
Keesee served her sentence at the Broward Correctional Institution as inmate DC# U05903. She was released March 23, 2006.
Howard Scott Anderson
Howard was charged, along with Rod, in the animal cruelty cased when they broke into an animal shelter, stole some puppies, and tortured, then killed them. Originally, he was thought to be the one that murdered the Wendorf's. His family believes he was under the influence of something, because this was highly unlikely of him. They also think that Rod had to have talked him into doing what was done.
Howard is serving his sentence at the Gulf West Correctional Institution as inmate DC# 124489.
Dana was the oldest of those arrested. Friends and family considered her a "follower", and one that was "easily manipulated". They said that she "craved attention", and that "she was just strange."
Cooper is serving her sentence at the Gadsden Correctional Facilty as inmate DC# 153837.
Heather is the daughter of the victims. She claimed to be a demon in past lives, and also communicated with spirits during blood drinking rituals. Heather was freed by a grand jury, although a case is pending that she may go back to court, do to suspicion that she may not be innocent. Her and her sister split the insurance settlement, and plan on renting out their parents home.
Wendorf was never indicted.
Sources: Wikipedia, The Vampire Clan site (via: Serial Killer Central), Florida Department of Corrections