The Federal Counter-Insurgency Agent from Tennessee and the Goatherd from North Carolina


© Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner

On the morning of October 21, 1987 two men headed north on Interstate 81 to their new home in Shenandoah County, Virginia.  Both pickup trucks carried camper tops, which protected the beloved farm dogs accompanying these men.  The wives of both men had moved to Shenandoah County in August 1987.   Both men were moving to farms containing historic houses, far grander than they had ever lived in before.  Both men were anticipating a much more affluent lifestyle than in their previous abode.

Both men were 38 years old and 6’-3” tall.  Both men had athletic builds, brown eyes and dark brown hair.  Both men had substantial Native American heritage.  The law enforcement officer was part-Cherokee.  The architect-goatherd was part Creek.

The federal law enforcement officer was looking forward to being in the safer environment of “civilized” Northern Virginia. It was going to be a cushy assignment with little drama.  The goatherd did not realize that he was about to enter the Twilight Zone.

The Federal Counter-Insurgency Agent

Etowah, TN (McMinn County):  Covert FBI Counter-insurgency agent Bill Rogers, loaded up the last household items into a moving van, with a fake company name on it, which was actually driven by employees of the US Department of Justice. His wife and kids had been forced to move 460 miles northward to Shenandoah County, VA in late August on a week’s notice, when the Justice Department notified him that their lives were going to be changed radically. That’s when public school doors opened in Shenandoah County. 

During the 12 years in McMinn County, Bill had risen in the hierarchy of the Klu Klux Klan to be the Grand Titan of KKK chapters in Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District, which the Klan called a dominion. He explained his sudden resignation by announcing that he had been chosen to be a training officer for an army, composed of multiple ultra-right organizations, which was going to capture Washington, DC and give it back to the white people of this nation.

The good news was that Bill was no longer posing as the owner of a small livestock supply store. He and his family were given a large farm near Woodstock with a picturesque two-story house, built in 1842. They were now to play the role of being affluent owners of a horse farm. He was finally to be paid his full salary. The monthly checks were disguised as payments from a dummy ultra-right organization, created by the FBI. He and his wife also were given a new Ford sedan, Jeep Cherokee and full-size pickup.

Bill earned a history degree from the University of North Carolina-Asheville then served as a lieutenant in the US Army Military Police in Vietnam. After being discharged, he earned a masters degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte then was hired by the federal government for covert employment. 

Upon being assigned a covert assignment in McMinn County, he and his wife had to rebrand themselves as marginally educated blue collar folks. He had a fake discharge certificate from the Army, showing him to be a corporal in them MP’s. His post-high school education was concealed. 

In Shenandoah County, they were to be re-branded again as intelligent college graduates with rabidly extreme political ideals. He was now issued a US Army discharge certificate, showing him to be an officer in the Special Forces (Green Berets). In other words, he was presented as a master of guerilla warfare.

There are no known photographs of Bill Rogers available today in either Tennessee or Virginia. Both his and his wife’s drivers license records have even been expunged from the state systems. Most Shenandoah County residents in 1987 have either died, moved away or forgotten that either of them ever existed.

Glen Crannoc Farm in the Reems Creek Valley, North Carolina (1986)

The Architect and Goatherd

Reems Creek Valley, North Carolina (10 miles north of Asheville): That same morning Architect Richard Thornton was taking one last walk around his farm to look for forgotten items, before loading his herd dogs into the camper top of his Toyota pickup and heading 380 miles north to Woodstock, Virginia.  The furniture van had already left. The trucks carrying the livestock and tractor equipment left the day before and had already deposited their contents at the new farm on Toms Brook, seven miles north of Woodstock.

The only time that Thornton had ever had contact with anything that might be construed as nationally significant was on a sunny afternoon in February of 1973. A few weeks after returning from a job in Sweden, he was invited over to the Georgia Governor’s Mansion for a casual soiree with Governor Jimmy Carter, his son Chip and his first wife Caron. While both had been Governor’s interns in college, Richard had a crush on Caron, who like he had substantial Creek & Uchee Indian heritage. Caron chose Chip, before Richard even had a chance to ask her out. That day, Miz Roselyn ordered Jimmy to play his rock ‘n roll records in the garage apartment in back of the mansion, because she had some ladies coming over for tea.

The group had been listening to and analyzing Southern Rock records for about an hour, when they were rudely interrupted by a 30 year old man from Delaware, accompanied by his nephew. Jimmy invited Joe to join the party . . . that’s Senator Joe Biden. Jimmy introduced Richard and his date as future governors or senators . . . maybe even president. Eventually, Joe got around to telling Jimmy that he was there on behalf of the Democratic National Committee to ask Jimmy to run for president. Joe asked Jimmy first, if they should go somewhere else to discuss national politics, but Jimmy said that the young folks should be allowed to listen in and ask questions. Shazam!

This was the first time the two future presidents had met each other. Much of the afternoon involved explanations by Jimmy to Joe about the finer arts of Southern Rock Music, mixed with questions from both of them to Richard about life in Sweden, the Swedish national healthcare system, Swedish attitudes toward the USA and Swedish attitudes toward the Soviet Union. Shazam again!

Richard had no clue that he was about to enter the Twilight Zone. For unknown reasons, information had been intentionally put into a certain high security level of Justice Department records that indicated he was the secret counter-insurgency agent, not Rogers.

Richard’s wife had moved up to Shenandoah County over two months earlier to teach school and supervised the erection of “New Zealand” style electrical fencing around the primary pasture. Richard would build the cheese creamery, dairy and other fencing later.  

One of the seven famous bends in the Shenandoah River

The duplicitous doctors

After ten years of fertility treatments, the couple still had no children. When Richard met with her fertility doctor, just before moving to Virginia, he had no explanation for their lack of success, but bizarrely asked Richard if he would like to have a vasectomy. 

Five years later, his wife’s psychologist would tell Richard in front of his wife that she had intentionally terminated pregnancies with abortions and artificial inseminations with spermicide throughout their marriage. She also told him that she had born a child out of wedlock while in college.

Fourteen years later, Richard of all things met on a dating website one of the nurses, who helped AI procedures on his wife. She had moved to the Atlanta Area in 1995. While dating her, he would learn that the fertility doctor was lying. Almost from the beginning, the medical staff knew that his wife was using spermicide after AI. Two of the doctors on the staff also worked at the abortion clinic near Downtown Asheville and had performed abortions on her while she was married. For most of the ten-year period, the doctors faked fertility procedures billed to the Thorntons and instead sold his semen. 

The clinic marketed Richard’s high-priced semen as “Cherokee Chief.”  They told women customers that it came from a Cherokee architect in Charlotte, NC with 8 years of college. Thornton had dozens of biological children. An A-list actress, with some Cherokee heritage, even came to Asheville twice to be impregnated with “Cherokee Chief.”

Unlike almost all Cherokee semens, Cherokee Chief was guaranteed not to contain the genes associated with diabetes. Eighty-seven percent of adults at the North Carolina Cherokee Reservation carry the gene that causes diabetes. In contrast, it is very unusual for Eastern Creek Indians, such as Mr. Thornton to have diabetes. In the period between 2012 and 2020, several of his biological children have contacted him. Some are Georgia Tech graduates, also.

Photo of Richard Thornton that appeared on the cover of Country Roads Magazine in 1984. The large building with a tower is the cheese creamery. The house “crossed the T” with the creamery.

The US Forest Service Connection

Approximately, a week after Mrs. Thornton moved to Virginia, three attractive young women appeared at their farm in the Reems Creek Valley. They were sisters in their mid-to-late twenties. They identified themselves as members of a sisterhood, that had held rituals at the farm. Mrs. Thornton was a member of this sisterhood. The young ladies wanted to spread goat-sheep manure from the Thornton barn on their garden. While excavating the smelly stuff, they gave lots of attention to the two herd dogs, so that made the dogs adore them.

All three were scientists or technicians at the Southern Research Station of the US Forest Service in Asheville, NC. In the period between 2010 and 2013, when Thornton was living in a tent in the national forests to when he was the primary target of the Maya-Myth-Busting in the Mountains publicity campaign, all three sisters were high-ranking administrators in the Southeastern Region of the US Forest Service. 

Unbeknownst to most of the public, the Asheville research station contained one of the largest collections of live disease or toxin bearing insect colonies in the world. The women claimed that when the National Park Service wanted to kill off most of the wild horses on Cumberland Island, GA without the public knowing it, the agency acquired mosquitoes carrying equine encephalitis viruses from the Asheville Forest Research Center.  Their possession of several species of disease-causing ticks AND the live bacterial pathogens in these ticks, makes what happened on the farm on Reems Creek very suspicious.

After excavating the manure, the sisters invited Richard to eat dinner at their house in Madison County, NC. It was a pleasant evening with nothing of questionable ethics going on. When he returned to his farm house, the herd dogs seemed agitated, but nothing seemed to be wrong in the barn or the house. 

Late next morning, Thornton began to feel localized pain in his groin and left arm. At both locations were cysts, containing small insects. He pulled them out with tweezers and looked at them with a magnifying glass. They appeared to be baby ticks. They were actually Deer Ticks, but at that time Deer Ticks were unknown in the Southern Appalachians. 

Thornton thought that it was extremely odd that he had any tick on him, because for the previous two weeks, he had been packing boxes in the house and never had gone out into the woods. Ticks don’t like sunny, hot pastures. However, that night he found 17 of the miniature black ticks under the covers of his bed. He washed and disinfected all the bed linens as a precaution.

About 10 days later, Thornton became violently ill with the symptoms of many diseases, including food poisoning. He eventually passed out on the living room floor and stayed unconscious for over 28 hours. A neighbor entered through the unlocked front door to check on him after Richard’s herd dogs had appeared at her kitchen door, begging for food. His wife went two weeks without calling the farm during this period. She seemed quite surprised when he answered the telephone three days after waking up.

Despite being solely responsible for packing and moving an entire farm, plus the veterinary inspections required for interstate transport of livestock, Thornton somehow recovered sufficiently to pull it off on schedule. However, just before moving days, strange bullseye shaped bruises appeared on his left abdomen, left arm and left thigh. Also, his pubic area was infected. The bruises were painless. He put animal antibiotic salve on the groin area and then charged northward. Back then folks in the mountains didn’t know about Deer ticks or Lyme Disease!

The murder of 17-year-old Tim Conner

Despite rarely contacting Richard during their two-month separation, his wife put on a show of being glad to see him, when the pickup arrived at their rental house near Woodstock. After giving her a hug, he immediately let the dogs out of the pickup and followed them to the brush in an adjacent tract of land, where they peed and pooped to their heart’s content.

Shortly after sundown, all hell broke loose. There were men running around the adjacent vacant lot, plus several dozen emergency vehicles flashing their lights on the highway. It seemed that all the law enforcement cars, fire trucks and ambulances in the county had convened there in addition to perhaps a hundred cars of onlookers. A teenage boy’s body had been found about 12 feet from where my dogs pooped. Both the dogs and Richard would have certainly seen it, when they were in the abandoned field three hours earlier. Of course, otherwise, they had no clue what was going on.

The following day, the local newspaper told the Thorntons that Tim Conner had been missing for two weeks. He was a really “good” young man, who didn’t touch drugs and did well in school, yet he had nine bullet holes in him. Something else was strange. There was no body decay whatsoever. His body was colder than the surrounding fall air. It had been kept in a freezer locker!

  • Eventually, a high school classmate was convicted of shooting Tim while he laid on a couch one afternoon after school. There was no blood or bullet holes in that couch. 

The killer was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to six months in the county jail! What?  During those six months, his jail cell was never locked. He was free to walk around town. He rode in the front seat like a hero when Sheriff’s deputies took him to shopping centers or restaurants.

  • After serving his six month sentence the murderer was allowed to leave Virginia and never was heard of again. Even the FBI couldn’t find him.

Later, rumors swept through the county that Tim had actually been murdered by nine young men in an initiation rite managed by senior sheriff’s deputies in the Thornton’s century old barn.

On the morning of December 12, 1992, the body of Federal Law Enforcement Agent Bill Rogers was found laying on a frozen pasture, about 50 feet east of the Old Back Road and about a mile south of the Thornton Farm. He had a bullet hole in his head. The bullet came from the gun of a law enforcement officer. There was essentially no investigation at the Sheriff’s Department level. Any state or federal investigations were never mentioned to the public. Like so many other murder victims in Northwestern Virginia during that era, the fact that Rogers ever existed was quickly forgotten.


    1. That’s just the highlights. You have no idea! I was looking at the typed daily journal that I kept. I had forgotten how many people I knew, who were murdered . . . including a female doctor, .who helped treat me for the tick diseases. Almost all of them were college-educated Caucasians, who were either moderate or progressive politically.


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