Dryden residents upset over docuseries detailing town murders

"The Village of the Damned," a new docuseries highlighting several horrific events in the 1990s, is sparking controversy in Tompkins County.

The docuseries, airing on Investigation Discovery, focuses on the string of murders that haunted the small town of Dryden.

It happened over a period of a decade.

According to The Ithaca Journal, it began in December 1989, just days before Christmas.

A couple and their two children were shot in the head and their bodies set on fire.

Five years later, in 1994, a football coach was shot to death when defending his daughter from her ex boyfriend.

Then in October 1996, two high school cheerleaders were abducted and killed.

It is a piece of Dryden history Marcy Brandt, co-owner of Arnold's Flower Shop on Main Street, would rather forget.

"A sequence of events that were just very upsetting and very troublesome to a lot of people and caused tremendous pain," Brandt said.

"It's really profiting off people's misery, and what's the point? If they want to come and do a documentary about Dryden. We have a whole lot of good things that we can talk about. Not some things that happened 20 or 30 years ago," Jason Leifer, Town of Dryden supervisor, said.

Leifer said the series portrays the murders in a sensational way.

He said it is upsetting a lot of people by dredging up a sad time period in the town's past and giving the public the wrong idea.

"We have a good solid community. We have our own tourist attractions. We have a nice mix of suburban neighborhoods and agricultural lands," Leifer said.

Leifer and others in the community are also upset about the docuseries title, "The Village of the Damned."

"We stick together. Our neighbors would do anything for each other. By no means is it the "Village of Damned. Not at all," Brandt said.

It's a community that wants people to know there is a lot of good in the town — even if parts of the past are not.

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