Clark, WY - Two teens, 19-year-old Stephen Hammer and 18-year-old Tanner Vanpelt, are facing 11 felony counts after police say they killed a woman and her elderly parents in order to steal a car.
According to charging documents, Hammer and Vanpelt went to the home of 40-year-old Ildiko Freitas, who lived their with her husband and her parents, 69-year-old Janos Volgyesi and 70-year-old Hildegard Volgyesi. The teens had intended intent to steal Freitas Audi and flee to Utah, but something went horribly wrong.
Freitas, who knew Hammer from when he once lived in the area, argued with the boys, leading to Vanpelt shooting and killing her. The affidavit alleges Hammer found Hildegard Volgyesi in the basement and shot her. When Vanpelt went into the basement he saw Volgyesi was still alive, and shot her two more times. Vanpelt then encountered Janos Volgyesi in the garage and shot the man twice in the back.
Neighbors reported seeing the teens arrive at the home in a white Taurus, and watched as they entered the front door. Twenty minutes later, they watched the sedan and Freitas’ Audi speeding away from the home with the family’s dogs chasing after them. The neighbors called 911 when they went to the home to return the dogs and discovered the bodies of Freitas and her father. Police would later discover Volgyesi’s body in the basement.
The teens would be arrested later that day after a volunteer firefighter, who had been one of the first responders at the murder scene, witnessed the boys driving the vehicles toward Wyo. 120. Jerry Ruth called 911 and followed the two vehicles while staying about a quarter mile behind them.
When the boys spotted a state trooper, the driver of the white Taurus pulled over, got out and jumped into the black Audi. “I suspected we were going to have a gunfight, I really did,” said Ruth, a retired Baltimore police officer. He said he had his gun and Baltimore police badge ready in case a gunfight ensued.
But turns out the boys aren’t just cold-blooded killers, they are also pussies.
“At that moment, the state trooper came across the highway from the parking lot — in a very aggressive manner, I guess, very quickly — he drew his gun and pointed it at the driver of the black car and it was done,” Ruth said. “Basically, they gave up right there.”
Tanner Vanpelt graduated in from Cody High School in December 2011, where the principal recalled that the teen never had serious discipline issues. Vanpelt’s father said his son has never been in serious trouble before his arrest. Hammer attended the school only a year before. A former neighbor to the Hammer family, recalled Stephen Hammer as a likable, well-mannered boy. State courts showed no citations involving any kind of violence for hammer or Vanpelt.
According to Park County Sheriff’s Lt. Dave Patterson’s affidavit, after his arrest, Hammer said he was “sorry for shooting ‘that lady’” and led law enforcement to a location where the teens hidden the 9mm pistols allegedly used in the murders. The guns were two of the eleven firearms stolen during a Feb 26 burglary of Cody Sports and Pawn. The remaining guns were found at Vanpelt’s apartment.