1980 W.Va. Murders Solved

18 Apr 1992 16:02:13

>Marlinton, W.Va. (AP) - Suspects in four states have been arrested in the
>slayings of two women shot to death 12 years ago while hitchhiking to a
>counter-culture gathering in a West Virginia forest.
> Police arrested three former Pocahontas County residents Friday in the
>slayings. Four others were arrested earlier in the week.
> Nancy Santomero, 19, of Huntington, N.Y., and Vicki Durian, 26, of
>Wellman, Iowa, were found shot to death June 25, 1980, in a field near Droop
>Mountain Battlefield, a Civil War battlefield in southeastern West Virginia.
> The two friends has been hitchhiking from Arizona to visit Santomero's
>family in New York and planned to stop in West Virginia to attend a Rainbow
>Family Gathering. Both were shot several times at close range. Neither was
>sexually assaulted, according to the coroner's report.
> The loose-knit Rainbow Family had been holding a national meeting in the
>Monongahela National Forest when the women were killed. The back-to-nature
>group gathers periodically in secluded areas for several weeks.
> "It's not been out of anyone's mind or thoughts in 12 years," said
>Pocahontas County Prosecutor Walt Weiford. He refused to discuss motives or
> But Sheriff Jerry Dale said the case was reopened six months ago after
>authorities learned that a convicted serial killer who confessed to the
>Rainbow killings had read about them in a magazine. Dale declined to name
>the killer.
> "We found that he in fact wasn't responsible," he said. "At the same
>time, some other leads came up."
> "People got older and became less intimidated and frightened about the
>subjects who were responsible for the murders. Information just started
>coming our way."
> According to published reports in 1980, a Rainbow Family spokesman said
>he told police local residents has shot at the group's campsite several times
>before the slayings. Nobody was injured in those shootings, the reports
> The seven men, all of whom were living in Pocahontas County at the time
>of the slayings, were charged with two counts of first-degree murder,
>authorities said. Additional arrests are possible, Weiford said.

THE BRUNSWICK NEWS, Saturday, April 18, 1992

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