When eighteen-year-old Jennifer Wendorf returned home one evening, she was witness to the most horrific scene she would ever set eyes upon: her own parents' brutally bludgeoned bodies. It was later discovered that both Richard and Naoma Wendorf each received over twenty ferocious blows to the head.
As this atrocious crime came to light, so too did many troubling questions: Who, in a quiet Florida town, could harbor such hatred toward the genial couple? Where was the Wendorfs' troubled fifteen-year-old daughter, Heather? And could this ungodly murder be connected to Heather's friends, a bizarre group of teens who were obsessed with blood drinking and other vampire rituals?
Read with fascination as police track down the renegade teens, extract their startling confessions, and watch as bestselling author Clifford Linedecker uncovers the twisted tale in a true-crime case as shocking as any fiction...
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When 18-year-old Jennifer Wendorf returned home one evening from her part-time job, she was witness to the most horrific scene she would ever set eyes upon: her own parents' brutally bludgeoned bodies. It was later discovered that both Richard and Naomi Wendorf each received over twenty ferocious blows to the head.
As this atrocious crime came to light, so too did many troubling questions: Who, in the quiet Florida town just outside of Orlando, could harbor such hatred toward the genial couple? Where was the Wendorf's troubled fifteen-year-old daughter, Heather? And could this ungodly murder be connected to Heather's friends, a bizarre group of teens who were obsessed with blood drinking and other vampire rituals?
Read with fascination as police track down the renegade teens, extract their startling confessions, and watch as bestselling author Clifford Linedecker uncovers the twisted tale in a true-crime case as shocking as any fiction...Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
1. JENNIFER A few minutes before 8 p.m., Jennifer Lynn Wendorf began preparing to wind up her shift as a cashier at the Publix Supermarket in Mount Dora, balancing out her cash register and turning over the cash drawer to the night supervisor. It was a typically comfortable, cool mid-autumn central Florida evening when the pretty teenager walked to the parking lot, slid gratefully into the driver’s seat inside her shiny 1996 candy-apple-red Saturn convertible and backed out of the space. The car the high school senior drove was an early graduation gift from her parents, Richard and Naoma Ruth Wendorf. They were planning to present a similar gift to their younger daughter, Heather Ann, when she celebrated her sixteenth birthday early the following year. The Wendorfs were proud of both their girls. Their vivacious oldest daughter was a good student who played a prominent role in extracurricular activities at her high school and had already been accepted for enrollment at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Their fifteen-year-old was a high school sophomore, and although she seemed to be experiencing the throes of some teenage rebellion, she was already showing promise as an artist and had proven to possess diverse musical skills. She played piano, oboe and the xylophone—all exceptionally well. It had been a long day but before returning to her home in rural northeastern Lake County, Jennifer had one more stop to make. She drove to the apartment of her boyfriend, Tony Stoothoff, on Northland Road in Mount Dora a few blocks from the supermarket. The seemingly casual decision to visit her boyfriend would later acquire alarming significance. Some time later, after promising to telephone and let Stoothoff know she had arrived safely at home, Jennifer finally scooted back into the driver’s seat of her convertible and began the twenty-minute drive. There was still plenty of time for a chat with her parents before turning in and getting some sleep so she could arise early and prepare for school Tuesday morning. Jennifer was one of the most popular girls at Eustis High School, where she was a senior, a pep rally leader and co-captain of the varsity cheerleading team that supported “the Panthers” when they played football or basketball against teams from Mount Dora, Leesburg, Tavares and other area schools. The cheerleaders were close friends on and off the sidelines where they leaped and tumbled during games, and they often teamed up to shop, hang out, and attend frequent slumber parties. More than half the time Jennifer was the party organizer and they were held at her house. Although she worked in Mount Dora, a quaintly bucolic community of about seven thousand people, one of a scattering of small towns clustered so close together that they share common borders, or are separated by no more than a five- or ten-minute drive, she and her sister attended school in Eustis. With a population of about ten thousand, Eustis was only slightly larger than Mount Dora and was a couple of miles’ drive north along State Road 437, then seven or eight miles west on State Road 44, from the Wendorf home on Greentree Lane. Conveniently for the sisters, Eustis High was just a couple of blocks off Orange Avenue (SR 44) on the east edge of town. One of the main reasons the senior Wendorfs scrimped and saved until they were able to buy the five-acre plot of land, then build their home in the development of new brick and wood houses eight years earlier, was because of their concern for the welfare of their daughters. Space, privacy and the opportunity to insulate the girls from the rapidly expanding metropolitan sprawl that surrounded their previous home in Orlando, about thirty miles to the southeast, were important factors in the decision to relocate the family in the quiet little residential development, where they could avoid all the urban problems and social ills that went along with living in or near a major population center. Richard and Naoma Wendorf also liked plenty of walking-around room and the house was constructed with 3,129 square feet of floor space, including a screened-in porch area and an outdoor pool. The single-story “L”-shaped brick house was designed with separate bedrooms in the northwest wing for each of the girls. Jennifer’s bedroom was on the northwest corner and Heather’s was next to it, to the east. Heather’s name was prominently displayed on the door of her room. The rooms of the two sisters were joined by a hallway that led to the rear bathroom and the family room on the west side of the house. The master bedroom was at the opposite end of the house, separated from the girls’ rooms by the family room, breakfast nook, kitchen, dining room and living room. The arrangements afforded maximum privacy for the teenagers, and for their parents. Richard and Naoma Wendorf enjoyed indulging their daughters, and each of the sisters had her own telephone, and a television set with a videocassette recorder. The main reason Naoma worked as a volunteer at the school was because she wanted to be closer to her daughters. Jennifer’s thoughts may have flickered briefly toward concern for her younger sister when she pulled her convertible to a stop, climbed outside and walked into the garage, then moved into the house through the laundry room entrance. Heather was creating serious problems within the family, and during a chat with her mother earlier in the day, Jennifer had suggested calling a family conference that night to discuss how the trouble should be handled. The mother and daughter had talked earlier that afternoon after Mrs. Wendorf drove from the school to Stoothoff’s home in the Eudora Apartments. Mrs. Wendorf worked from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. as a volunteer in the high school office during school days, and she had wanted to talk to Jennifer about her reasons for skipping Monday classes to spend the day with Tony. The discussion soon turned to Heather. Jennifer suggested during the mother–daughter chat that her little sister might merely be going through a phase. “I don’t think it’s a phase,” Mrs. Wendorf replied. “She’s been up in my face lately.” But Jennifer also had other things on her mind when she walked into the house. She had promised to telephone Tony to let him know she was safely home and say goodnight. As she walked past the family room she noticed her father’s feet on the couch. The television was on, and she figured he had fallen asleep. Later, retracing her steps for homicide detectives, she said that after phoning her boyfriend she went into the kitchen to get a snack when she noticed a trail of blood on the floor. “And then, that’s when I saw my mom. I saw my mom. She was lying there and then I … I ran to the living room to see what my dad was doing,” she said. “He wasn’t asleep.”
Belinda North was working the late shift at the Florida Regional Medical Emergency Service in Mount Dora when she logged a call at almost exactly 10:30. Ms. North was an experienced professional, who was trained to handle emergencies and to keep her cool under pressure—even when fielding a call from someone like the agitated young woman who was on the other end of the line. 911:Where is your emergency?CALLER:My emergency is in Eustis, Florida, 24135 Greentree Lane. I need two ambulances. Mymother and my father have just been killed. I just walked in the door. I don’t know what happened. They are dead.911:Both of them, ma’am?CALLER:Excuse me?911:Both your mother and your father? They are not breathing at all?CALLER:I don’t know. I didn’t check. I can’t get that close; they’re my parents.911:Is anybody there with you, ma’am?CALLER:I have no idea. I don’t know who is in the house. I have no … I, I … hang on, there’s somebody on the other line.911:Hello, ma’am?CALLER:Hello.911:Yes, ma’am.CALLER:OK.911:All right, ma’am, what’s your first name?CALLER:My name is Jennifer. My last name is Wendorf.911:What makes you think that they have been killed?JENNIFER:There is blood everywhere. Please, as fast as you can …911:OK, we’re on the way. We have law enforcement on the way also. Are you there alone?JENNIFER:I have no idea. There could be somebody in the house.911:I mean, nobody came there with you?JENNIFER:Who?911:Nobody is there with you?JENNIFER:My sister is gone, though. I don’t know where my sister is. She’s gone.911:What do you mean? She lives there with your parents?JENNIFER:She should be here. She’s only fifteen years old. And she’s gone. (Jennifer gives the dispatcher directions to the house.)911:All right, ma’am, what I would like you to do is get out of the house and sit outside in your car, OK?JENNIFER:OK.911:If you’re not sure if anybody is still in the house. You can’t tell anything’s going … When you tell me there’s blood everywhere, you mean like on the floor, on the walls?JENNIFER:Yes, yes.911:The floor?JENNIFER:My mom is [garbled]. I can’t go in there. I’m just afraid to leave my room, to leave my sister’s room.911:OK, that’s when you came in the front door and went straight into your sister’s room?JENNIFER:I walked in the front door and I didn’t really pay attention, but I thought my dad was sleeping. Then I went and called my boyfriend to tell him I was home. Then I came back in and I saw blood. Then I ran into thekitchen. My mom was in there. Then I ran to the couch and my dad was there. There was blood everywhere.911:So your mother’s in the kitchen and your father’s in the living room? OK, we’re on the other line with the law enforcement. We’re going to make sure law enforcement is en route out there, OK?JENNIFER:OK. And my sister’s...
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