Pennsylvania police are contacting investigators around the country after a teenager suspected of killing a man she met through Craigslist told a local newspaper reporter that she was a prolific serial killer in a satanic cult.
Sunbury, Pa., police Officer Travis Bremigen told the Los Angeles Times that he's already contacted the local FBI office as well as officials in North Carolina and Alaska.
Soon, he said, he'll be contacting investigators in Los Angeles, after Miranda Barbour, 19, reportedly claimed that she killed someone there. Where, exactly? It's not clear, Bremigen told The Times. "She just said 'L.A.,'" he said.
"It’s such a vague comment she made," he said, adding, "We’ll be actively pursuing anything that she said ... and see what we can come up with. It’s gonna be a group effort."
The confusion comes from an hour-long jailhouse interview Barbour gave to Daily Item reporter Francis Scarcella, who told The Times that Barbour sent him a letter asking to speak to him.
"It says, 'I’m reaching out to you, I’d love to have all the news articles about my husband,' " Scarcella said, adding that Barbour said her attorney warned her not to give the interview. (Barbour's attorney has not responded to The Times' request for comment.)
Barbour, along with her husband, has been charged with stabbing and strangling Troy LaFerrara, 42, after meeting up with him on Nov. 11 through a Craigslist ad in which Barbour reportedly offered LaFerrara companionship for money.
The Barbours had been married just three weeks before LaFerrara's death Nov. 11. They had just moved to Pennsylvania from North Carolina and were arrested in December.
Scarcella told The Times that officials didn't allow him to bring a pencil or notebook to the Northumberland County Prison for the Friday night interview.
And when he began talking to Barbour about the Craigslist case, he told The Times, he became incredulous at the things she began to say.
“I didn’t ask, I let her talk,” Scarcella recalled. “She said, 'I’ve done this before,' and I said, 'OK, do you want to explain that?' ”
That's when Barbour told him that she had killed "under 100" people, said Scarcella, who responded to her doubtfully. She then told him "I stopped counting after 22," Scarcella said.
The veteran newspaperman, who said he has spent at least 12 years in journalism, said Barbour's demeanor was “calm, cool, collected. She had no emotion. I asked her if she any remorse, she said no. She said she killed 'bad people.'"
She said she began killing when she joined a satanic cult in Alaska at the age of 13, and alluded to killings in Texas, North Carolina and California, with the majority happening in Alaska, according to Scarcella's story on the interview.
Scarcella said he just wanted to let Barbour talk and so didn't stop her during their hour-long interview, which was conducted face-to-face but through protective glass and over jailhouse phones; authorities recorded the interview. "That was my Valentine's Day," Scarcella said.
He said he's going back again later this week, and that he plans to also set up an interview with her husband, Elytte Barbour, 22. Police have obtained the jailhouse tapes from Miranda Barbour's first interview, and a second could potentially give investigators more clues as to whether Barbour's claims are true.
On Sunday, the FBI confirmed to The Times that it had been contacted by Pennsylvania police and were prepared to offer their help on the case.
If even a fraction of Barbour's claims turn out to be true, Scarcella said, it's still one of the wildest cases he's reported on.
Scarcella added, “I said to her when I was in there, 'Miranda, you know when I print this, you’re going to have zero fans out there,' and she said, 'I could care less.' "