The daughter of a Bedford County, Va., couple and her West German boyfriend were indicted yesterday in the stabbing deaths of her parents, the county prosecutor's office reported.
Elizabeth Haysom, 23, was indicted on two counts of first-degree murder. Her boyfriend, Jens Soering, 19, the son of a West German diplomat stationed in Detroit, was indicted on one count of first-degree murder and one of capital murder. Both are in custody in London, where they were arrested last week on check fraud charges.
Haysom's parents, retired steel executive Derek Haysom, 72, and Nancy Astor Haysom, 53, were found slain April 3, 1985. County authorities said their throats had been cut and Derek Haysom had more than three dozen stab wounds.
Authorities had declined to comment on local press reports that blood was smeared throughout the Haysoms' home near Lynchburg, that the number 666 -- regarded by some as a symbol of the devil -- was scrawled on the floor, that all the furniture was turned to face north and that there were signs someone had danced in the blood.
After yesterday's indictments in Bedford County, Sheriff Carl H. Wells, who has called the slayings the worst he has ever encountered, said: "We will not comment on the evidence except to say that we have seen no signs of voodooism. But voodooism and satanic slayings are different in my opinion. It was a very brutal killing."
Elizabeth Haysom and Soering abruptly disappeared from the University of Virginia, where they were students, after being questioned about the slayings last year.
Wells said the indictments resulted from questioning of the suspects in London last week by representatives of the county commonwealth's attorney's office. He said that extradition proceedings will begin immediately and that contact with British officials will be made by the U.S. State Department.
Wells said that Elizabeth Haysom was the youngest of the family's six children, but the only child from her father's last marriage, and added that both she and Soering "were very brilliant students." He said that no other family members were implicated in the slayings.
The killings created a sensation last year in the rural southwestern Virginia county. The couple was prominent and wealthy. Derek Haysom, a native of South Africa, was a Canadian citizen. Local officials said his wife was related to Lady Astor, the first female member of the British House of Commons.
Wells said Elizabeth Haysom, who described herself to British courts as a writer with no fixed address, was removed as executor of her father's estate after she disappeared last year