Calif. man indicted in slayings of four, including young Inwood woman

November 03, 2009

FARMVILLE, Va. (AP) -- An aspiring California rapper has been indicted on capital murder charges in the deaths of four people, including an Inwood, W.Va., woman, found bludgeoned to death at a central Virginia home in September.

Richard "Sam" McCroskey, 20, of Castro Valley, Calif., was charged Tuesday in indictments returned by a Prince Edward County Circuit Court grand jury.

McCroskey is charged in the Sept. 18 deaths of his girlfriend, 16-year-old Emma Niederbrock; her parents, 50-year-old Presbyterian minister Mark Niederbrock and 53-year-old Longwood University professor Debra Kelley; and Emma's friend, 18-year-old Melanie Wells of Inwood, W.Va. Their bodies were found in a home in Farmville.

McCroskey met Emma Niederbrock online through their interest in so-called "horrorcore" music and flew to Virginia on Sept. 6 to meet her.


Authorities found the bodies of the four victims after Wells' parents traveled to Farmville to pick up their daughter, but were unable to find her.

Lt. R.L. Gardner of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department said in September that Wells' parents had made arrangements to pick her up to take her home. They drove to Farmville and tried to call Melanie about an hour before they arrived but she didn't answer her cell phone, Gardner said at the time.

They drove to the house and waited for about seven hours before returning to Inwood and filing a missing person report, Gardner said in September.

A day before the bodies were found, McCroskey answered the door at the home and calmly told police looking for Wells that she was at the movies with a friend, The Associated Press reported in September. Her mother had called police asking them to check on her daughter.

When the worried mother called police again on Friday, Sept. 18, police went to the house and discovered the bodies, AP had reported.

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