A British court refused yesterday to free two former University of Virginia students who were arrested in London last month on check fraud charges and are facing questions from Virginia authorities about the 1985 stabbing deaths of the parents of one of them.
A London magistrate ordered Elizabeth R. Haysom, 23, daughter of a Bedford County couple killed in April 1985, and Jens Soering, 19, the son of a West German diplomat, held for three more weeks in connection with the check fraud case. They were arrested May 1.
Bedford County Commonwealth's Attorney James W. Updike Jr., who traveled to England last week to interview the two, was scheduled to return home yesterday but could not be reached for comment.
Bedford County Sheriff Carl H. Wells -- who said last week that Haysom and Soering had not been named as suspects in the slayings of Derek Haysom, 72, and his wife, Nancy Astor Haysom, 53 -- said Updike had not yet conferred with him about the trip.
The Roanoke Times & World News quoted a Scotland Yard official as saying that Haysom and Soering, who abruptly disappeared from the university in the middle of the fall term, "are now suspects in the double murder" of Haysom's parents.
Both victims were repeatedly stabbed, and their throats were slashed. Authorities declined to comment on reports that blood was smeared throughout the home near Lynchburg, that the number 666 -- regarded by some as a sign of the devil -- was scrawled on the floor, and that there were signs that someone had danced in the blood.
Wells said yesterday that the crime scene "was bizarre," but he discounted reports in London that it had anything to do with the practice of voodoo. He declined to elaborate.