The young woman suspected of killing a man she met on Craigslist in Pennsylvania, and who has claimed to have killed more than 20 others, including a victim in L.A., has been met with more skepticism than belief as authorities work to verify her story.

Miranda Barbour's father says she is a manipulative liar. Her mother says she just wants to be left alone. And claiming she carried out the killings as part of a satanic cult, a high priest of the Church of Satan issued a statement, saying, "I find it difficult to believe that a 'killer cult' of any sort could be in operation before being noticed and their murderous members captured and prosecuted."

"We have no record of any contact whatsoever with this couple," Peter H. Gilmore wrote on the group's website.  "It should come as no surprise that Satan has once again been chosen as a scapegoat, since criminals often seek to blame others for their actions."

Barbour, along with her husband, has been charged with stabbing and strangling Troy LaFerrara, 42, after they allegedly met with him on Nov. 11 through a Craigslist ad in which Barbour reportedly offered companionship in exchange for money.

The couple had been married just three weeks before LaFerrara's slaying. They moved to Pennsylvania from North Carolina and were arrested in December.

In a jailhouse interview with Sunbury, Pa., Daily Item reporter Francis Scarcella, Barbour said she began her killing spree after joining a satanic cult in Alaska at the age of 13 and had killed people in four states. 

Barbour's father, Sonny Dean, told The Daily Item that his daughter is "the most manipulative person I have ever known" and that she's a liar and not a serial murderer.

"I don't believe her" claims of committing a string of murders, he said. "There is no way," though he added that he believes she could be responsible for one other murder.

If Barbour is convicted of LaFerrara's slaying and sentenced to death, Dean said he will watch her get executed while holding the hand of the widow she made.

Barbour, 19, reportedly told the reporter in the jailhouse interview that someone in Los Angeles was among those she had killed, but that claim was not specific and has not been verified, police said, though they were looking into it.

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ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com