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Title: A dozen girls come forward as targets of self-professed vampire

Source: The Virginian-Pilot, 1/19/96

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January 19, 1996

A dozen girls come forward as targets of self-professed vampire

BY MIKE MATHER, The Virginian-Pilot
Copyright 1996, Landmark Communications Inc.

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Since police launched and publicized an investigation into a self-professed vampire, about a dozen girls have come forward to say they were sexually assaulted or bitten during initiation rites, detectives said.

On Thursday, a day after the suspect's arrest, Detective Don Rimer said he interviewed two girls who belonged to the vampire ``family,'' and at least four others have made appointments.

``I am really alarmed by the number of people he has had sexual contact with,'' Rimer said.

Police are considering all female members of 26-year-old Jon C. Bush's vampire family as potential assault victims because sexual contact was required for initiation, Rimer said. And because all the female members are juveniles, any sexual contact would be illegal, Rimer said.

So far, Bush is charged with rape and sodomy in cases involving two teenage girls whose cooperation with police led to the investigation.

Rimer and his partner, Detective Gary Knowles, fielded dozens of calls Thursday from concerned parents, teachers, guidance counselors and teens. Police have said prospective members were recruited from several middle and high schools. Most callers offered details about Bush or clan members.

Meanwhile, police gave more details about the vampire family they said was headed by Bush, a heating and air conditioning worker who lives with his mother in Virginia Beach.

Rimer said Bush claimed to have psychic ability and ``powers he didn't enumerate.'' He also placed himself near the top of the 14 levels of the vampire clan, the detective said.

Bush said he is the ``elder,'' or head of his 30-member family, but ``princes'' above him control wide geographic regions. The lowest members were new family recruits, Rimer said.

The suspect ``manages the family. He controls them, he tells them what to do and where to go,'' said Rimer, an expert on occult lifestyles. ``He is the administrator, so to speak.''

Heading the family also meant handing out punishment, Rimer said. Police said Bush punished wayward members with an activity called a ``bloodhunt.''

A clan member who had broken a rule -- such as disrespecting Bush -- would be taken into a patch of woods at night and set loose. A few minutes later, the remainder of the vampire clan pursued. If the wayward member eluded the pack until dawn, he was welcomed back into the family. If he was caught,  the clan members descended upon him and bit him, and he was banished.

Bush's family was loosely based on a commercially available game called ``Vampire: The Eternal Struggle.'' It is a card game where players assume the identities of characters and then, through political and physical struggles, try to gain control of adversaries. It is similar to the more popular fantasy role-playing game, ``Dungeons and Dragons.''

Although Bush frequently played the game, Rimer said most of his followers didn't. Their ties to him were social, often including parties and sex, Rimer said.

According to Rimer, members painted their faces white and their lips and left-hand fingernails black for excursions into local malls or to the Oceanfront. Sometimes, the family would surround Bush in a protective circle as they walked. Bush, who often wore snap-on fangs, would walk with his hands folded in an X across his chest.

The masquerade was designed to pique the interest of teens, who were quietly recruited.

Bush encouraged male family members to recruit female members, mostly from Virginia Beach schools, Rimer said. For a girl to be initiated, or ``embraced,'' as Bush called it, she had to let Bush bite her on the breasts, submit to oral sex, or have intercourse, Rimer said.

Male members were simply ``marked,'' or bitten hard enough to leave a bruise or impression.

Although biting was common in Bush's vampire family, drinking blood wasn't, Rimer said.

Most people who believe they are vampires typically drink blood because they think it makes them stronger or more virile, but Bush instead ``fed'' on sexual conquests, Rimer said. ``His goal was the sexual activity,'' Rimer said. ``In every encounter with females, there was at least the attempt. Every girl we have talked to said he tried. That's how he embraced them. That's how he fed.''

An 18-year-old woman who asked not to be identified said Bush was obsessed with sex when she met him four years ago. As a 14-year-old runaway, she said she and a friend met Bush and his cousin and stayed with them at an Oceanfront hotel.

``He was always forcing himself on me,'' she said. ``He kept saying how much he wanted me. I bought a knife at the grocery store and kept it with me because I was scared.''

She said the two-day encounter with him still unnerves her.

Rimer said there may be many more sexual assault victims who are afraid to come forward. Police are encouraging anyone who has had contact with Bush to call detectives Rimer or Knowles at 427-4101.

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