CARY, N.C. — Before Elizabeth Dean decided to make the nearly eight-hour drive to Sunbury, she called Northumberland County Prison and asked administrators when she could visit her daughter, whom she hadn’t seen in more than four months.
“You can’t,” prison officials told Dean about visiting Miranda Barbour, 19, of Selinsgrove. “She is on suicide watch.”
Sunbury police accuse Miranda of the Nov. 11 murder of Troy LaFerrara, 42, of Port Trevorton.
Police said Miranda told them she met LaFerrara on Craigslist and after an arranged meeting, the engineer began to grope her, so she pulled a knife from between the seats of her Honda CRV and began to stab him before blacking out.
LaFerrara was knifed at least 20 times, police said.
“I want answers from Miranda,” Dean, of Cary, N.C., said by phone Thursday. “She keeps telling me that she wants to talk to me, but I have been told by the jail that I am not allowed to see her.”
Dean said Miranda called her on Jan. 27, the day the teen mom was served papers by her uncle, Arlin Fletcher, for custody of Miranda’s nearly 2-year-old daughter.
Miranda’s daughter was taken out of Snyder County protective services and placed in the care of Miranda’s father, who lives in Texas.
Miranda told her mother that she wrote to The Daily Item and wanted to speak, but she never received a reply. She asked her mother to call the newspaper to learn why the newspaper would continue to write articles about her without speaking with her, Dean said.
Miranda told her mother she has not seen any newspaper articles about her case, but has heard chatter among prison guards and other inmates.
Miranda wrote a Jan. 3 letter to The Daily Item requesting an interview, and wrote a reporter’s name on her visitation list.
Prison shuts out journalist
That reporter was denied access Jan. 6. Prison officials told him he wasn’t on the list, and that Miranda didn’t even have a list.
The Daily Item published a story Jan. 9 about the denial, and was later told by prison and county officials a mistake had been made, that the reporter’s name was on Miranda’s list.
But hers was a “wish list,” prison officials added.
Said an inmate on work release: “The only person that gets a wish list in jail is Santa Claus. There is no such thing.”
Dean said she has been following The Daily Item each day trying to get news about Miranda, but did not want to be interviewed because she does not have any details about her daughter’s case.
“The reason I’m calling,” Dean said, “is because my daughter wanted to know why (the reporter) didn’t go to talk to her.”
Dean said she deposited $30 in Miranda’s prison account and waited for her daughter to call.
“She called and told me about getting served the papers from my brother and then she started to talk to me about calling (the reporter) and then we got disconnected,” Dean said. “It was a less than five minute phone call.”
“Guards are mean to her”
Dean said she hadn’t heard back from her daughter until Thursday.
“She called again and said the inmates are afraid of her and the guards are mean to her,” Dean said. “I don’t know what to do because they won’t allow me in to go see her.”
Since Miranda was arrested Dec. 3, Dean said she has been the target of national media and local reporters seeking interviews.
“I have to keep my shades down and I have to watch who calls me,” she said. “They hang out in the parking lot and they ask me why I am a bad mother.”
Dean broke down in tears several times during the interview while saying repeatedly, “I must have failed (Miranda).”
Runaway meets satanist
She went on to discuss her daughter’s childhood.
“(Miranda) ran away from home when she was 12,” Dean said. Her daughter grew up in Alaska and has an older sister, Dean said.
“(Miranda) got hooked up with a guy (in Alaska) who was into satanic stuff, and when she came home one day, she told me that he owns her now.”
The man’s name was Forrest, Dean said.
“I asked her what she was talking about, and she told me that this man owns her and she has to do whatever he says,” Dean said. “She said he branded her by carving a swastika on the back of her neck and his name on her thigh.
“She told me she was out prostituting at 12 years old and that this man was her ruler.”
Satanist has “hold on her”
When she read an article published by The Daily Item about the strange coincidences of a string of number 1s related to her daughter’s alleged Craigslist ad, Dean said she broke down and cried.
An ad purportedly posted by Miranda at 1:11 a.m. Nov. 1 — looking to meet men who “hated their wives” — was not a coincidence, Dean said.
The murder took place Nov. 11, the same day as the birthday of Miranda’s husband, Elytte Barbour, and the two-year anniversary of her father’s remarriage, on Nov. 11, 2011.
Dean wept again.
“I told (Miranda) when she was in Alaska, she needed to stop all of this and get away from these (satanic) people,” Dean said. “She was involved in this satanic stuff and this man (Forrest) still has a hold on her. It’s heart-breaking.”
One day Miranda came home and said she wanted to change her life, so Dean sent her to North Carolina to live with Miranda’s uncle, Arlin Fletcher.
“I sent her down here and she was doing very good,” Dean said. “I moved down here to be with her, and then she met ‘Elf.’”
“Elf” is Elytte Barbour.
On Dec. 6, just three days after Miranda was arrested, Elytte told police he was also with his wife the night of the murder. He said he was hiding in the backseat of the Honda CRV, according to court documents.
After a sign was given, Elytte told police, he popped out from under a blanket and began to choke LaFerrara while Miranda stabbed the man, police said.
Mom: Tell the truth
The two had planned to kill someone, anyone, together, court documents state.
“Every time I talk to my daughter, all she does is tell me how much she loves Elf and how she would do anything for him,” Dean said. “I told her she needs to tell the truth because he will throw her under the bus.”
Dean said she reached out to Elytte’s family in North Carolina, but has yet to receive a response.
Miranda told her mother that Elytte became engaged in the satanic world after Miranda and Elytte became romantically involved.
“She told me he liked it, but she said, ‘Mom, I can’t put him on the panel because Forrest won’t let me.’”
Dean didn’t know what the panel meant. She said she knows her daughter participated in satanic rituals, but was unsure about the nature of them.
“I have no idea,” she said. “I know if you talk to Elf, he will say she (Miranda) killed plenty of times before, but I just don’t know. I asked her and she said ‘Never.’”
Elytte told The Daily Item on Dec. 4 that the father of Miranda’s child was dead. He wouldn’t get into details that day.
“He is not dead,” Dean said. “But we don’t know who the father is. It could be one of several people.”
Dean said Forrest contacted her and said he wants to know whether the child is his. According to Dean, Forrest was 25 when he met Miranda, then 12. Miranda became pregnant at 17.
So sorry for victim’s family
Dean will be making her way to Northumberland County in the near future and said she will do everything she can to get inside the jail and visit her daughter.
“She told me who was on the visiting list,” Dean said.
“I know I am on it and (the reporter is) on it. I asked her if she changed it and she said she never took anyone off the list. So if they are telling you that, then someone is not telling you the truth. I don’t know what is going on in there, because they won’t let me visit her.”
Dean said she had a message for the LaFerrara family.
“My heart goes to them,” Dean said, “and if this is true, I did not raise my daughter this way.”
Editor’s note: Francis Scarcella, a reporter with The Daily Item, is the staff member who received a letter from Miranda Barbour seeking an interview, but was denied by Northumberland County Prison officials on Jan. 6.