The town of Walkersville was rocked this morning by the news that one of their own families may be cold-blooded killers.
Four members of the Anderson family were arraigned in Frederick County Court on charges related to the murder of a soft furry bunny in their backyard. Detective Jason Keckler said the crime was discovered by students walking home from school on the railroad tracks behind the family's Hampton Place residence.
"The deceased was discovered yesterday afternoon near the Walkersville Railroad tracks and Walkersville Park," Keckler said. "The body was still fairly soft. K-9 units determined that the victim was killed in the Andersons' backyard and moved, perhaps even flung, into the wooded area behind their home to avoid discovery."
While motive is yet unclear, police believe sons Timothy (17) and Thomas (13) lured the rabbit onto the family's property with spinach dip. Neighbors had seen the boys building various animal traps over the years but thought nothing of it. "We just figured they were boys being boys," said Ellie Gilbert, a family friend. Police found evidence within the house that the family has a long-standing animosity towards rabbits. Mother Karen Anderson had left an Amish cookbook on the counter, opened to a recipe for rabbit stew. Witnesses said they remember the Andersons complaining about a previous family pet rabbit who chewed some furniture. A well-worn copy of Watership Down was found with the cover ripped off. Traces of rabbit blood were found on the doorstep of the carport. Steven Anderson, the father, was also charged with disposing of the body and tampering with evidence.
"The details add up," Keckler said. "It is certainly hare-raising to discover killers in your midst, but this was a well-conceived plan carried out by a family with a vendetta against rabbits for some reason."
Neighbor Sally Walton, who has lived next door to the Andersons for 11 years and has often cared for their cat Oliver when the family went on vacation, said, "It's just so hard to comprehend. It bugs me, this bunny business. I can't imagine any member of this family perpetrating a violent crime against a small furry creature."
Meanwhile, the fate of the family pets was uncertain. Both the cat and dog were visibly shaken by the news their owners would no longer be serving dinner. Oliver the cat seemed sad about the needless loss of life. "It's a shame, really--a waste of a perfectly good rabbit." Treble the dog denied comment, but simply licked her lips and stared out the window at the spot where the rabbit was believed to have died. She has been seen visiting the site often, apparently to help her deal with her grief.