#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean
Web of Lies, Season 1, Episode 6 – Farmville Horror
In Farmville, Virginia, sixteen-year-old Emma Niederbrock develops an obsession with horrorcore music—a subgenre of hip hop that focuses on dark, violent, sometimes supernatural themes. Emma becomes online friends with her favorite performer, Razakel. Razakel introduces Emma to another horrorcore fan, Melanie Wells. The girls hit it off instantly and become close friends. Emma also connects with a guy in California, Sam McCroskey. Sam is an aspiring rapper who calls himself ‘Syko Sam’ and is also part of the horrorcore culture. He and Emma spend a great deal of time communicating online and soon begin confessing their love for one another.
When Emma learns that a horrorcore concert, Strictly for the Wicked Festival, is coming to Detroit, she begs her parents to let her go. Although her parents, Debra Kelley and Mark Niederbrock, are recently divorced, they have a good relationship and want what’s best for Emma. Their daughter has been struggling with the divorce, and they want to make her happy, so they agree, but on the condition that they drive her and her friends. Her online California boyfriend will fly to Virginia, then ride the 9 hours to Detroit with the parents and the two girls. After the concert, they’ll drive back and Sam will stay with Emma at her mother’s house for a week, at which time, he’ll fly back to California.
When the day arrives to pick Sam up at the airport, Emma is nervous, yet anxious to meet him. When she does, she is disappointed. He’s not the cool, attractive guy she expected. But, she’s stuck with him. On September 10, 2009, they head out for the drive to Detroit. During the September 12th concert, Emma pretty much ignores Sam. Then, she suffers the tense, 9 hour drive back, having to dread the week-long stay with this guy she doesn’t like, but who is obsessed with her.
They arrive back in Virginia on September 13th. The dad drops them off and heads to his house. Melanie calls her mom to let her know she had a great time at the concert, but she’s tired and is going to bed, and she’ll call her tomorrow.
The next day, Melanie’s mom doesn’t hear from her. She calls and calls, but gets no answer. On the evening of the 15th, Melanie’s mom calls the home phone and Sam answers. He tells her the girls went out for dinner and had car trouble and are waiting for Triple A.
A few days later, when Melanie’s mom still hasn’t heard from her daughter, she calls Emma’s dad and asks him to go the house and check. He agrees. That night, after not hearing from Mark, Melanie’s mother calls police and they go to the house. Sam answers the door and says the girls are at the movies. The officer leaves.
In the wee hours, Sam calls police to say he hears something in the basement. Police arrive and check the basement, which they find covered in animal feces. They leave.
In the meantime, horrorcore singer, Razakel, is worried sick. She and her boyfriend, who ironically, is known as ‘Sick’, are checking with the horrorcore fan base to see if anyone knows anything. A friend of Sam’s tells her that Sam said he murdered them. She calls police. Melanie’s mother has also called the police again. Officers go to the house and discover the bodies of Debra Kelley, Emma Niederbrock, Melanie Wells, and Mark Niederbrock. Sam is not there.
Police learn that the murders of the women took place not long after they arrived home from Detroit. The females went to bed, but Sam stays awake, stewing about Emma’s rejection of him. He is drinking, smoking week, and taking pills. His rage builds and he goes to the shed and grabs a sledgehammer. He murders Melanie first, then Debra, then Emma. No defensive wounds are found, which indicate he killed them while they slept. He stays in the house with the dead bodies. When Mark comes to check on them, he murders him as well.
The authorities find Sam at the airport, asleep, waiting for his flight. They arrest him without incident.
He was facing the death penalty, but took a deal and was given life in prison. The families agreed to the deal, in order to be spared a trial.
This is such a tragedy, but could have been easily avoided. While the parents showed they were protective by taking the kids to the concert themselves, what were they thinking, letting a stranger their daughter had met online, who gave off a creepy vibe, stay at their house? And, it’s also baffling to me that it took several days for the murders to be discovered, that everyone believed Sam, and that police came to the house twice without finding the bodies.