Haunted story or not? On vampires, Satanism and murder

Day after day, the stunning story of young Morgan Lane Arnold has unfolded in the pages of The Baltimore Sun, with each revelation only making key elements of this bloody crime more and more mysterious.

Here are some of the core details. Sometime after 4 a.m. on May 10, Arnold’s boyfriend allegedly stabbed her father to death. The boyfriend told police that Arnold left a sliding door unlocked and urged him, in a barrage of personal messages, to kill her dad while he slept — so that the youngsters could flee as a couple. The girlfriend of the divorced dad managed to escape the attack.

In a recent update, the Sun team noted — no surprise here, in this day and age — that Arnold had previously been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and Asperger’s syndrome. Her parents had radically disagreed with one another on the prickly issue of how to treat her condition, in terms of medication, counseling and a strategy for mainstream schooling.

How much of the following information — the overture for this latest chapter in the drama — will surprise readers who have been paying attention to tragic news stories of this kind?

Morgan Lane Arnold, an emotionally frail 14-year-old freshman, navigated the hallways of her Howard County high school each day filled with anxiety, unable because of a learning disorder to decipher the social cues, jokes and emotions of her peers.

Her preferred environment, often accented by a Japanese anime soundtrack streaming through snug earplugs, featured a mix of fairies, mermaids and vampires, according to her mother. They were the protagonists of a digital realm where she said she was “practicing making friends” through role-playing games and social media.

“Her electronic communication devices were her world,” Cindi Arnold said in an interview last week, the first extended comments since Morgan and her boyfriend were charged with murdering her father, Dennis Lane, in his Ellicott City home. “That is how she felt comfortable interacting with her peers.”

So what makes this a GetReligion story? Is there a religion ghost in this tale?

I will say, right up front, that I am not sure. After the initial reports, I kept reading — expecting a religion shoe to drop in this tragedy.

Finally, there was this, via her mother, Cindi Arnold:

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