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The Edmonton Journal

Edmonton, Alberta, JOURNAL, 17 July 1992, pages A1 & A2

Mutilated cows found south of city
Farmers suspect cult

Journal Staff Writer



A heifer has been found dead and mutilated on a family farm in what is apparently the latest in a string of ritualistic killings south of the city.

Since September, seven heifers - each worth about $600 - have been killed and six have had their sex organs removed.

Often, their blood has been drained.

The surgical neatness of the wounds and the tidy site around the cadavers has sparked speculation that the killings are the work of devil worshippers. Some claim extraterrestrials are at work.

"It's easier to imagine that it's a cult operating or dumb Druids," a frightened Doris Verchomin said in an interview Thursday.

"But some people think it might be UFOs. We are so secluded here and it was so peaceful for so many years, and all of a sudden we have one thing after another. We are so scared and overwhelmed. We can't sleep."

Since April, six female animals have been found dead within a day or two of the full moon - five were mutilated and missing body parts.

RCMP are investigating the bizarre midnight incidents on the Verchomin beef farm, about five km southeast of Edmonton International Airport.

Const. Gerald Kazimirowich said Thursday he couldn't comment on the deaths until a veterinarian had examined the most recent remains.

The latest carcass was found Wednesday morning.

The 300-kg heifer lay on its right side on a grassy knoll, a 30-cm incision in its neck, a teat neatly sliced off and sex organs removed.

The ground, still spongy from the recent rain, bore no signs of struggle, no footprints and no gore.

"We heard a lot of commotion between 1:30 and 2 a.m.," Verchomin explained. "My husband was asleep and I was too afraid to go outside. I thought of calling the RCMP but they have just tried to downplay things."

"It's not a coyote, it's not a pack of crazy dogs, someone's done it with a knife." - Farmer Reinhold Trelenberg

Verchomin believes the cow was still standing when the culprits began cutting at its rump.

"These cuts were definitely not done by an animal," Verchomin said. "(The culprits) usually take an ear, an eye and the tail - just a bloody stump is all that's usually left."

She said her husband was so upset he had talked of selling the farm his family has worked for 40 years.

Taking a break from haying Thursday afternoon, Roman Verchomin shook his head over the mutilations.

"Usually coyotes go for the rear end first and the udder," he said.

"There's thousands of these (incidents) reported (across North America) and the problem is that they never catch these guys. Whether it's human or not? I suppose it is human. But there has to be more than one person involved. It's a cult or something."

Last September, on neighbor Reinhold Trelenberg's farm, a heifer was found drained of blood and missing its tail, teats and sex organs.

"Our law-enforcement people are not doing their job," Trelenberg fumed.

"I think it's a cult. Last night was a full moon and it's always on a full moon. They should be out there at night to catch these people. They don't fly in. I don't believe like some of the others that it's UFOs.

"And I don't care what anyone says - if the throat is cut, there is no animal that will do that. It's not a coyote, it's not a pack of crazy dogs, someone's done it with a knife . . . And there isn't a teaspoon of blood anywhere."

The killings on the Verchomins' farm started in April when the family milk cow was slaughtered.

They found its remains behind a barn on April 14 - its rectum and uterus were missing and its throat was slit.

There were five large crosses constructed of two-metre-long branches lying nearby.

Two months later, on June 14, a 115-kg heifer was found. Its sex organs had been removed, it had been eviscerated and its organs taken.

"The skin was missing, too, and you could see scalloped cutting marks," Verchomin said.

On June 21, the summer solstice, another 115-kg female calf was killed, but its mother apparently chased off the killers before the calf could be mutilated and the mother stood over the remains until the following day.

The would-be butchers picked another calf. Its decomposing remains were found three days later, the skin completely removed from its head.

That calf had also been eviscerated and its organs carried away.

On June 28, a 320-kg heifer was found missing its sex organs, an ear, an eye and its udder.

The Verchomins say a veterinarian who examined the previous remains said it was impossible to prove the animals were not killed by predators.

"Those crummy little coyotes are supposed to kill those two-year-olds," Doris Verchomin said incredulously.

"They don't - unless they've started to dine with a knife and fork."

She said she was unhappy with the response by police to the earlier mutilations and was worried that no one was giving credence to her family's fears.

"They told us to keep quiet before," Verchomin said.

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