When Victoria Scripps-Carmody was 3 years old, the newspaper family heiress witnessed her father kill her mother with a claw hammer as she slept in their Bronxville, N.Y., mansion on New Year’s Eve 1993.
Her father drove his BMW to the Tappan Zee Bridge and took his own life by jumping off into the icy water of the Hudson River. The case generated enormous headlines in the New York City media.
The orphaned child was soon adopted by family members in Charlotte with the hope of a new life out of the glare of notoriety.
“The collective wisdom was that it would be in the best interest of Victoria to be removed from the immediate environment of tragedy and be up in a rural setting and begin a new life,” a family lawyer told the New York Times.
Fast forward 18 years.
Victoria Scripps-Carmody, now 21, of Burlington is accused of having 193 bags of heroin tucked away in her 2006 BMW when it was pulled over in the northbound lane on Interstate 91 in Brattleboro on Aug. 10, the Vermont Drug Task Force said. She and two male companions were returning from Holyoke, Mass., where police say they went to buy heroin, court records show.
The state trooper who stopped her car noted Scripps-Carmody had track marks on her arm, a court affidavit said. It said Scripps-Carmody told a detective that she has a six-bag-a-day heroin habit that she needs to feed. That can equate to a $90 to $120 a day, Vermont drug investigators said.
In the past 2 1/2 years, Scripps-Carmody has had four drug arrests along with two pending burglary charges, police say and court records show. One of the prior cases, involving possession of OxyContin, resulted in her agreeing to enroll in court diversion. In another, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge and paid a fine, records show. And in a third, an accessory to robbery count was dismissed. The recent traffic stop and the two burglary counts remain unresolved in court.
It was not the life the family lawyer and others had once pictured for that 3-year-old girl, the great-great-great granddaughter of the founder of the Detroit News, James E. Scripps, and a descendant of the family that founded the E.W. Scripps Co., a large media company that owns newspapers, television stations and the Scripps-Howard News Service.
“It’s a very sad story,” said Brooks McArthur, a Burlington lawyer who now represents Scripps-Carmody in her Vermont legal cases.
“She is a young woman with an overwhelming addiction issue preyed on by those knowing she is an addict or has money,” McArthur said. Police said one of the co-defendants agreed to provide her drugs in exchange for a place to live at her Burlington apartment.
“This is another sad example of how drugs and addiction can destroy lives and destroy at times the promise, and to have other people come into their lives to take advantage of their addiction,” McArthur said.
Scripps-Carmody, known by her friends as “Tori,” remains at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington for lack of $10,000 bail on the heroin possession charges.
McArthur said he did not want his client interviewed.
Burlington Free Press
August 28, 2011