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Teens in Suspected ‘Vampire Cult’ Arrested in Double Murder

November 29, 1996 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ Heather Wendorf wore purple hair and a dog chain around her neck, and told friends she was former demon who had talked with spirits during human blood-drinking rituals.

With her parents found slain and Ms. Wendorf missing, authorities feared she had been kidnapped by the killers. Then they began to suspect her.

Ms. Wendorf, an ex-boyfriend and three other teen-agers believed to be in a ``vampire cult″ in Kentucky were in jail Friday, tracked to Louisiana with the help of one teen’s mother.

Roderick Ferrell, 16, and Dana Cooper, 19, both of Murray, Ky., and Scott Anderson, 16, of Mayfield, Ky., were arrested on murder warrants Thursday night, along with Ms. Wendorf, 15. She is a granddaughter of James Wendorf, a retired lawyer for the Billy Graham organization.

Charity Keesee, 16, of Murray was charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact.

All are wanted in the murders of Richard Wendorf, 49, and his wife, Naoma Ruth Wendorf, 53, who were bludgeoned to death Monday night in their Eustis, Fla., home about 20 miles northwest of Orlando.

The Kentucky youths are believed to be in the ``The Vampire Clan,″ a group of about 30 that surfaced about two months ago during an investigation into a break-in at an animal shelter. Two puppies were mutilated and their body parts taken.

``They had stomped one of them to death and one of them, they pulled the legs off,″ said Sheriff Stan Scott of Calloway County, Ky., about 180 miles southwest of Louisville.

Two youths were charged, including one of the teens suspected in the Wendorf slayings, but other information was withheld because the case involved juveniles.

Few details were available about all of the teens, but Ferrell and Ms. Wendorf stood out in their rural communities, authorities and schoolmates told The Orlando Sentinel.

Ferrell sported shoulder-length black hair, wore a black trench coat, carried a wooden stick and boasted of immortality as a vampire. Ms. Wendorf often wore black fishnet stockings, besides the colored hair and dog chain.

The two attended high school together in Florida before Ferrell dropped out last year and moved back to Kentucky, according to news reports.

``She was a real nice girl, but deep down you could tell she had some heavy problems,″ said Joe Barrett, 15, a friend of Ms. Wendorf’s in Eustis. ``When she started hanging around a different crowd last year, she went from being real nice to being quiet.

``She started dying her hair _ purple mostly _ and wearing all-black clothes. Some people said she swore she was a vampire.″

Ferrell’s mother, Sondra Gibson, was recently charged with trying to coerce a 14-year-old boy into having sex with her and helping her become part of the vampire clan.

Prosecutors say Gibson wrote letters to the boy, urging him ``to become a vampire, a part of the family″ and ``you will then come for me and cross me over and I will be your bride for eternity and you can be my sire.″

Baton Rouge Police Cpl. Don Kelly said the teens were being questioned by Florida authorities. Extradition proceedings are expected to begin next week.

Kelly said all five 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.″

David Keesee said his daughter had never been in trouble before.

``She basically ran away from home, but I don’t think she knew what she was getting into,″ he said.

It was Ms. Keesee’s mother who helped lead authorities to the teens, Scott said. He said the girl called her mother in South Dakota on Thursday, told her she was in Louisiana somewhere and needed money.

After authorities figured out the youths were in Baton Rouge, Scott said, the mother told the teens during another call to go to a motel and have the clerk call her to arrange to pay for a room.

``Believe it or not, they fell for it,″ Scott said.

Authorities said the teens were driving the Wendorfs’ Ford Explorer when they were arrested. Kelly would not say whether there was blood on the car.