By Rick Dandes
SUNBURY — The Sunbury “Thrill Kill” slaying in early December was easily the most viewed story on www.dailyitem.com, The Daily Item website, in 2013, garnering massive interest not only in the Valley, but also around the world.
When the news about the arrest of Elytte Barbour and his wife, Miranda, broke online there were 94,062 separate page views of one single story: “Cops: Young Newlyweds Thrill Killers.”
Over the next few weeks, as police investigated the slaying of Troy LaFerrara, a 42-year-old Port Trevorton man who met Miranda Barbour through Craigslist and set up a meeting with her for companionship, more than 10 separate stories about the Barbours attracted more than 50,000 page views.
The second most viewed story of the year broke about a year ago, when in mid-January, a 5-year-old kindergartner, “armed” with a pink bubble gun, was suspended from school. The story, coming on the heels of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, fascinated the nation — and attracted 20,663 independent page views, as readers learned of the girl who told classmates she was going to shoot them, and then herself, with her bubble gun. She was grilled by Mount Carmel school officials and suspended. The suspension was subsequently revoked.
Breaking news dominated the rest of the top-viewed 2013 news stories online:
n On June 12, a tractor-trailer pickup crash on Route 147 killed a 2012 Shikellamy High School graduate. Views: 12,717.
n In May, investigators from various agencies swarmed Minuteman Environmental Services’ offices in the Milton Industrial Park. Views: 12,570.
n On May 22, two events dominated the news. Early in the morning, a raging fire destroyed millions of dollars of inventory, and the warehouse at Keller Marine & RV in Port Trevorton; a few hours later, there was a three-vehicle car crash on Route 11 in Point Township, in which two Valley residents were killed. Views: Fire (8,7340, Car Crash (10,067).
n A July 24 tragedy in Maine in which a Sunbury woman and friend died after their car dropped into a waterway attracted 7,943 views.
n An Oct. 9 bus crash on Interstate 80 killed one woman and injured 44 passengers. Views: 7,779.
n In March, a district judge in Snyder County ruled that there was enough evidence to hold Jennifer Snook for trial on a second-degree murder charge in the stabbing death of 71-year-old Bonnie Jean Snook. Views: 7,207.
n A blazing inferno, caused by a late-night fire at the Route 45 Barnyard Restaurant, lit up the western Union skies, as well as the Internet, with 6,285 views.