The State Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement officials expressed doubt Monday over the claims of a self-proclaimed satanist who says that she murdered more than 22 people in a handful of states, including North Carolina, over the past six years.
But they are still investigating the veracity of 19-year-old Miranda Kamille Barbour’s startling assertion, made public over the weekend, that she became a serial killer at the age of 13 at the behest of the leader of a satanist cult.
“The SBI has been in contact with Pennsylvania authorities about this case previously and we remain in contact with them to determine if there is any credible information related to any unsolved homicide in North Carolina,” spokeswoman Noelle Talley said.
Capt. James Stevens, a spokesman with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, also confirmed Monday that sheriff’s deputies “have been in contact with other agencies to share information,” but he declined further comment.
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Miranda Barbour and her husband, Elytte Randle Barbour, 22, have been charged with killing a 42-year-old electrical engineer in Sunbury, Pa., nearly three weeks after they were married in Harnett County.
The Barbours were living in Dunn when they were married on Oct. 22, according to a marriage certificate application filed at the Harnett register of deeds. Shortly afterward, they moved to Selinsgrove, a borough of 5,500 in central Pennsylvania just down the Susquehanna River from Sunbury.
Sunbury police accused them of using a Craigslist ad to kill Tony LaFerrara, 42, on Nov. 11. During an interview with The Daily Item newspaper, Miranda Barbour said she connected with LaFerrara through the website and agreed to have sex with him for $100, but then decided to kill him. She said she stabbed LaFerrara more than 20 times in the front seat of a car, while her husband, who was hiding in the floor of the couple’s CRV, wrapped a vehicle safety cord around his neck.
“He said the wrong things,” Miranda Barbour said during a jailhouse interview with a Daily Item reporter Friday night. “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.”
Elytte Barbour told investigators they committed the crime because they wanted to kill someone together, according to court papers.
Sunbury Police Chief Steve Mazzeo declined comment Monday and referred all inquiries to the Northumberland County District Attorney, Anthony Rosini. The district attorney could not be reached for comment.
During the interview at the Northumberland County jail, Miranda Barbour said that she has been a member of a satanic cult since the age of 13 and had killed at least 22 other people in Alaska, Texas, California and North Carolina.
Lawyers for both suspects requested mental evaluations. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
State records show that Miranda Barbour lived with her family at a number of places during her childhood, including Fairbanks, Anchorage and the North Pole in Alaska; Panama City Beach, Fla., and Knightdale and Cary.
Miranda Barbour left Alaska in 2011, according to The Anchorage Daily News.
Miranda Barbour’s mother, Elizabeth Dean, lives in Cary. A News & Observer reporter visited the home on Monday, but no one answered the door.
Capt. David Register with the Dunn police said Monday that the town solved all of the homicides that have occurred in town over the past six years. Register said police have two unsolved homicides, but both occurred during the 1990s, including the November 1996 death of 90-year-old Ruby Ryals.
“[Miranda Barbour] would have been a baby when it happened,” Register. “If she did it, she was still on breast milk.”
Knightdale has had only three murders in the town’s history, all solved. Likewise, Cary police spokesman Capt. Don Hamilton said his department does not have an unsolved murder.
Hamilton, Knightdale police spokesman Brian Bowman and Dunn Police Chief Jimmy Pope all said their agencies had not been contacted by FBI or other law enforcement authorities who may be investigating Barbour’s claims of being a serial murderer.