Authorities have expressed doubt and skepticism over the claims of a teenager who told the Daily Item, a small newspaper in Sunbury, Pa., that she had been killing people since she was 13 as part of a satanic cult.
“As of this date, there has been no verification of any of the information that has been the subject of media coverage regarding prior acts of the defendant, Miranda Barbour,” Anthony Rosini, the district attorney of Northumberland County, said in a statement today to ABCNews.com.
Any information about alleged crimes “committed in other jurisdictions has been or will be forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agencies and the FBI for investigation,” he said.
In a jailhouse interview with a reporter from the Daily Item, Barbour, 19, said that she went on a cross-country satanic killing spree that claimed at least 22 victims, according to the newspaper.
The claim, if true, would make her a rare female serial killer.
Barbour is charged along with her husband of three weeks of murdering Troy LaFerrara, a Pennsylvania man she met on Craigslist. She claimed that she had solicited LaFerrara for sex on Craigslist in November. Authorities said Barbour and husband Elytte Barbour stabbed LaFerrara to death while in her car.
The suspect told the newspaper she had killed what she calls “bad people” from Alaska to North Carolina. Police in Alaska, California, North Carolina and Texas have been called to check out Barbour’s story, authorities said. The FBI said it “will offer any assistance requested in the case.”
Noelle Talley, spokeswoman for the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation, told ABCNews.com that authorities were in touch with their counterparts in Pennsylvania and will “remain in contact with them to determine if there is any credible information related to any unsolved homicide in North Carolina.”
Bill James, a baseball writer and statistician who analyzed prolific murderers in the book, “Popular Crime,” told ABCNews.com that authorities have every reason to be skeptical of Barbour’s claims.
“I don’t think there has ever been a 19-year-old that killed 22 people. I don’t think that has ever happened in the country,” he said.
Still, James said authorities are right to follow up on Barbour’s claims to the newspaper.
“You have to assume you could be dealing with a killer until proven otherwise,” he said. “A lot of times you never know the truth.”
Despite her confession to the newspaper, a lawyer for Barbour entered a not-guilty plea at her arraignment.
ABCNews.com was not able to immediately reach Barbour’s family members or her public defender.
february 15, 2014
Nineteen-year-old satanist Miranda Barbour admits to killing Troy LaFerrara of Port Trevorton. In a prison interview Friday night, she said that she considered sparing his life until he said the wrong thing. She also said LaFerrara was one of dozens of such victims she killed in the past six years.
Barbour, with her husband, Elytte Barbour, 22, of Selinsgrove, has been charged by Sunbury police in the Nov. 11 fatal knifing of LaFerrara. She requested an interview that was recorded by the Northumberland County Prison on Friday night.
While she offered scant details of her participation in slayings in Alaska, Texas, North Carolina and California, city police confirmed Saturday they had been working, prior to her revelations Friday night, with investigators from other states and the FBI about Miranda Barbour’s possible connection to other killings. The majority of her murders, she said, took place in Alaska.
City police on Saturday would not comment on the status of those investigations.
At 22 victims, “I stopped counting”
Asked Friday night how many people she had killed, Miranda Barbour said through a jailhouse phone: “When I hit 22, I stopped counting.”
She wants to plead guilty to LaFerrara’s murder, and said she is ready to speak with police about her other victims.
“I can pinpoint on a map where you can find them,” she said.
LaFerrara, Miranda Barbour said, was Elytte’s first victim.
The 42-year-old Port Trevorton resident was killed on the Barbours’ three-week wedding anniversary.
“I remember everything,” Miranda Barbour said. “It is like watching a movie.”
She said she agreed to sex for $100 with LaFerrara, whom she met through a Craigslist ad. The two met in the parking lot of the Susquehanna Valley Mall in Hummels Wharf, and drove nearly six miles to Sunbury.
At one point, she planned to let LaFerrara out of her Honda CRV.
“He said the wrong things,” she said. “And then things got out of control. I can tell you he was not supposed to be stabbed. My husband was just supposed to strangle him.”
Time to “get it out”
According to court documents, Miranda Barbour knifed LaFerrara 20 times as Elytte Barbour sprang from the floor of the back seat to strap a cord around LaFerrara’s neck.
As she said upon her arrest, Miranda Barbour on Friday night repeated that LaFerrara tried to grope her, but she said it was his words that set her off.
“I lied to him and told him I just turned 16,” she said.
“He told me that it was OK. If he would have said no, that he wasn’t going to go through with the arrangement, I would have let him go.”
Miranda Barbour said she doesn’t care whether people believe her, that she wanted to tell her story to The Daily Item because she wanted to come clean and stop living a lie. She said she felt no remorse for her victims and said she killed only “bad people,” a belief she traced through a troubled childhood.
She said she was sexually molested at age 4 and was introduced to murder at 13, literally in the hands of a man who led her to satanism — beliefs that she said she held at the time of the LaFerrara homicide.
“I feel it is time to get all of this out,” she said. “I don’t care if people believe me. I just want to get it out.”
Suspect: I joined satanic cult
Miranda said when she was 4, she was sexually molested by a relative.
Elizabeth Dean, Miranda’s mother, confirmed Saturday that her sister’s husband was later arrested and charged with sexual abuse of a minor and sentenced to 14 years in prison.
“It was bad,” Dean said. “I never let (her) stay anywhere except for my sister’s house, and I was devastated when I found out.”
Nine years later, Miranda joined a satanic cult in Alaska. Soon after, Miranda said, she had her first experience in murder.
Barbour said she went with the leader of the satanic cult to meet a man who owed the cult leader money.
“It was in an alley and he (the cult leader) shot him,” she said, declining to identify the cult leader.
“Then he said to me that it was my turn to shoot him. I hate guns. I don’t use guns. I couldn’t do it, so he came behind me and he took his hands and put them on top of mine and we pulled the trigger. And then from there I just continued to kill.”
While in the satanic cult, Miranda became pregnant. The cult did not want her to have the baby, so, she said, members tied her to a bed, gave her drugs and she had an “in-house abortion.”
However, her mother on Saturday said that when Miranda told her about the abortion, she took her daughter to a doctor who said there were no signs of an ended pregnancy.
Miranda said she spent the next three years in Alaska, continuing in the satanic cult and participating in several murders.
“I wasn’t always there (mentally),” she said, adding that she had begun to use drugs. “I knew something was bad inside me and the satanic beliefs brought it out. I embraced it.”
During those three years, Miranda said she became pregnant again.
“And I moved to North Carolina,” she said. “I wanted to start over and forget everything I did.”
She left Alaska as a high-ranking official in the satanic world, leaving the father of her second pregnancy, a man named Forest, the No. 2 leader in their cult, who was murdered.
Ready to talk to police
Although Miranda would not say who else may have been involved in the alleged murders, she said all police have to do is talk to her because she is ready to speak.
“I would lure these people in,” she said. “I studied them. I learned them and even became their friend. I did this to people who did bad things and didn’t deserve to be here anymore.”
Sunbury police Chief Steve Mazzeo said authorities are aware of Miranda’s claims of murders, are taking them very seriously, and are also aware of Friday night’s interview. Prison officials have been cooperating with his department, Mazzeo said.
“We are reviewing the recording of The Daily Item interview and I will not confirm or deny anything at this point,” he said.
“I will however say that through investigations by lead officer Travis Bremigen he has been in contact with several other states and is working with law enforcement from various cities and towns.
“From information we gathered and from information gathered from her interview we are seriously concerned and have been in contact with the proper authorities.”
During the interview, Miranda was asked that, given her small stature, how people would believe she would be capable of murder.
“Looks,” she said, “can be deceiving.”
Asked why she pleaded not guilty to the LaFerrara murder, she simply said: “I didn’t want to.”
“When I was at my arraignment and the judge asked me how do I plead, I was ready to say guilty and my attorney (chief public defender Ed Greco) grabbed the microphone and said not guilty.”
Miranda Barbour said she has not spoken with her husband since the day she was arrested, but saw The Daily Item photo of Elytte Barbour’s new teardrop tattoo that he displayed at his most recent court appearance.
Husband “proud of what he did”
Elytte Barbour is being held in Columbia County Jail.
“He is proud of what he did,” she said. “I will always love him.”
Miranda said she has no regrets for any of her alleged crimes.
“I have none,” she said.
“I know I will never see my husband again and I have accepted that. I know I wanted to talk about all this because I know I had a 20-year window where I would possibly get out of jail and I don’t want that to happen. If I were to be released, I would do this again.
“By no means is this a way to glorify it or get attention. I’m telling you because it is time for me to be honest and I feel I need to be honest.”