As the world’s preeminent transgender fang maker will tell you, aficionados of the undead are generally better behaved than the accused kidnapper and sex abuser known as the Vampire Trucker.
“Most are less proactive,” says the artificial fang producer, who goes by the professional name Dnash. “I don’t see a lot of these people putting people in the back of the car and taking them into the woods and biting them.”
The Vampire Trucker, 53-year-old Timothy Vafeades of Utah, acquired his nickname along with worldwide attention because he christened his company Twilight Express Trucking and was found to possess fang dentures when he was arrested earlier this month. He is said to have partly filed down his 19-year-old victim’s teeth with a power tool and ordered similar false fangs for her during the 6 months he held her captive in the cab of his truck.
Dnash was thankful that he recognized neither the name nor the face in Vafeades mug shot as one of his many customers.
“I wouldn’t even say it’s necessary he associates himself with the vampire culture,” Dnash says. “The vampire scene, it’s more a fun thing. They tend not to commit felonies.”
According to Vafeades’ former mother-in-law, he had a way of sucking the life out of things long before he became the Vampire Trucker. Her daughter, Dana Platt, had two young daughters when she took up with Vafeades back in the late 1990s. He was working as a nurse and Platt’s mom was initially happy enough that her daughter was keeping company with him.
But Vafeades had a violent streak, and was twice convicted of domestic violence. One arrest came in December of 1998 after he threw a woman on a bed and choked her in front of four children aged between 4 and 8.
After Platt took up with Vafeades, child welfare authorities became concerned for the safety of her daughters and placed them in the protective custody of their maternal grandmother. Platt was ordered to keep them away from Vafeades.
On Labor Day weekend of 1999, Platt informed her mother that she was going with Vafeades to see a relative in Arcadia. And she was bringing her daughters, 6-year-old Kayla and 3-year-old Tabitha Rose.
“I said, ‘You can’t take the kids,’” recalls Platt’s mother, who asked not to be identified by name. “She said, ‘They’re my kids and I can do what I want with them.’”
Platt’s mother had too much firsthand experience with abusive men. She cautioned her daughter, but Platt was deaf to the warnings.
When her daughter did not return, Platt’s mother notified the child welfare folks. The child welfare people went to court and a judge issued an order that for some reason did not reach the sheriff’s office for a month. An arrest warrant was issued, but by then Vafeades had taken Platt and the girls to the Midwest.
“She called me and said, 'Ma, you were right, he's been hitting me," her mother reports. "I said, 'Get away from him.' She said, 'I can’t. I have no money and nowhere to go.’”
Pratt was suddenly cut off and her mother suspected that Vafeades had slammed down the phone. Pratt confirmed it when she and the children finally returned with Vafeades to Florida. Pratt told her mother that things were in fact even worse than they appeared.
“She goes, ‘Well ma, I might as well get this in the open, too,’” her mother recalls. “I said, ‘What?’ She said, ‘Tim and I got married when we were in Idaho.’”
Platt was the one who had actually violated the court order by leaving the state with the children, so she was also the one charged with parental abduction. Vafeades escaped any charges at all beyond violating probation on his domestic violence conviction.
Platt served two years in prison while her daughters were placed with a child welfare agency. Pratt’s mother told herself that it at least put her daughter and granddaughters beyond Vafeades’ reach.
“It’s too bad she had to go to jail, but if that got her away from him, so be it,” Pratt’s mother says.
The mother reports that the good news is Pratt met a wonderful guy after her release and is now living happily with her daughters in Alabama.
“He loves her to death,” Pratt’s mother says.
Vafeades moved to Morgan, Utah and started a one-truck shipping firm. He called it the Twilight Express Trucking, no doubt in tribute to the series of books and movies.
As the name of the firm suggests, Vafeades had grown obsessed with all things vampire. He became one of a remarkable number of people who have acquired artificial fangs, like those produced by Dnash and others.
According to police, Vafeades placed himself apart from the vast majority of fang fans after a 19 year-old female relative came to see him from Florida with the notion of assisting him with his trucking business.
Vafeades allegedly kept her captive in his truck cab for 6 months, periodically sexually assaulting her and refusing to let her out even to use a bathroom. He had a set of fangs on order for her.
The poor soul’s torment only ended after a trooper at a Minnesota weigh station noted that she had a blackened eye and was generally in terrible condition. A check showed there was a warrant for Vafeades’ arrest, apparently related to the Florida domestic violence charge. There also proved to be a court order forbidding him from ever having anything to do with this particular relative.
At his arraignment, Vafeades pleaded not guilty. He is presently being held on $1 million bail, which gives a twist to the message on the phone answering machine at his firm.
“This is Tim with Twilight Express Trucking. I am unable to take your call at the moment. Thank you so much for calling and have a great day. Bye, bye now.”
His former mother-in-law has a strong opinion as to what should be done with this particular vampire.
“He should be buried under the jail,” Pratt’s mother says.
Meanwhile, Vafeades’ fangs have been vouchered as evidence.
“I’m sure whoever made them for him is rolling their eyes and saying, ‘Oh dear,’” Dnash says. He cautions that such fangs are not intended for biting, as they can break off and cause the vampire to choke. She adds that sleeping with the fangs in is ill-advised, for the same reason. “I like my clients to remain undead,” she says.