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Warren Drane

The Brothers of Drane (also known as simply The Brothers) was a commune, gang, and cult that was active in Canada and the United States in the 1980s and 1990s. Led by Warren Drane, who occasionally used the alias of “Coda”, it attracted an estimated following of 100-120 members, who were all men and boys who varied in age, ethnicity, and income.

Drane was born in 1963, and in 1987 began attracting followers and acolytes in New Hampshire, Maine, and Quebec, particularly orphans, runaways, drifters, social deviants, or otherwise people who felt they were wronged by society. They lived off the grid in remote areas where they often practiced hunting, fishing, and primitive survival techniques while in communal living. Initially, the group’s ideologies bordered on beliefs of anti-establishment, social deviance, reclusiveness, and misanthropy, where people who felt cast off, unloved, and unwanted could finally have a place where they belong. Gradually, however, the group became more violent and hostile, and their philosophy became far more extreme as well. They embraced a revanchist belief that those outside of their inner circle were evil and corrupted, and must be destroyed by any means necessary. Drane convinced his followers that they were destined to lead the world into a new era of peace, security, justice, and prosperity, but that it must begin with the destruction of the current world. As a result, in the late 1990s, the group was responsible for the disappearances, tortures, and what were deemed as “revenge killings” of 30 people, which included family members and friends that the members were vengeful in some way against. This encouraged discontent within the group concerning their activities, especially among the group’s younger population. An uprising by five members led to the deaths of many of the group’s members, including Drane and Orlic. The rest were either tracked down and captured by law enforcement or remain missing to this day. The five members who led the uprising were arrested and tried as accomplices to the crimes of their fellow brethren members but were later released.

Warren Drane has been considered one of the United States and Canada’s most notorious criminals since the early 2000s. The brutal nature of the killings and notoriety the group has possessed since its dissolution has inspired several copycat crimes across the world, in order to “carry on the word of Drane, the everlasting Coda”.

Notable Members And Associates

Warren Drane

Damon Orlic

Jesse Hood

Casey M. Berger

Allan Gilbert

Jon Meyers

Richard Kneller

Brandon Coates

Alexander Howe

Grant Buckner

Nile Gottler

Christopher Dylan Caizzo

Dallas Caulfield

Calvin Henlay

Emilio Abdiel

Andrew “Drew” Pittman

Logan Rockwell

Joaquin Seco

K.J Dunlap

Hugh Morrison

Tyler “Ty” Cole

Jamar Joliff

Nevan Wystanley

Robyn Hartmann

Victims

Elizabeth “Beth” Rowe (Age 21; Death By Gunshot)

Martha Anne Gilbert (Age 48; Death By Strangulation)

Easton Timbrell (Age 30; Death By Starvation And Dehydration)

Jennifer “Jenny” Coates (Age 29; Death By Gunshot)

Paul Morrison (Age 83; Death By Gunshot)

Isabelle Meyers (Age 8; Death By Blunt Force Trauma)

Alyssa Orlic (Age 33; Death By Strangulation)

Shawn Fraser (Age 18; Death By Gunshot)

Ian Arbour (Age 18; Death By Gunshot)

Unknown Female (Age; Late Thirties; Cause Of Death Not Specified; Remains Found On Property)

Nathaniel Sharpton (Age 22; Death By Gunshot)

Lemar Reynolds (Age 22; Death By Stabbing)

Ariana Hempel (Age 34; Death By Blunt Force Trauma And Stabbing)

Jeremy Lewis Howe (Age 14; Death By Gunshot)

Jayce Todd (Age 16; Death By Gunshot)

Zachary Bain Mainse (Age 39; Death by Gunshot)

Anne-Sophia Desilets (Age 23; Death By Stabbing)

Unknown Female (Age; Late Teens / Early Twenties; Death By Mutilation)

Myra Christianson (Age 49; Death By Burning)

Unknown Male (Age; Mid-Fifties; Death By Mutilation And Burning)

Franklin “Frankie” Howe (Age 68; Death By Gunshot)

Luke Cairns (Age 19; Death By Gunshot And Burning)

Peter Cohen (Age 60; Death By Stabbing)

Faith Foster (Age 25; Death By Starvation And Dehydration)

Kira Vanbrook (Age 18; Death By Gunshot)

Cassie Vanbrook (Age 15; Death By Blunt Force Trauma And Starvation)

Kevin Labrie (Age 44; Death By Gunshot)

Daniel Hatch (Age 21; Death By Crucifixion And Burning)

Megan Nault (Age 20; Death By Crucifixion And Burning)

Unknown Male (Age; Early Twenties; Death By Mutilation And Crucifixion)

History

The Brothers of Drane was created by Warren Drane in 1987 in New Hampshire. Drane was a reclusive drug addict who experienced long and complicated fallouts with many of his friends and family, and experienced especially traumatic feelings as a soldier in the United States Army in a desperate bid to change his life around. He harbored repressive, antagonistic and murderous thoughts and fantasies towards those who he had felt had wronged him, discussing in a journal his discontent / hatred for the human race and wished to see them all dead in brutal and horrific ways. He also described himself as what he called an “archblood”, a member of a highly advanced race far past any ordinary human. Drane drifted for several months as a homeless young man, abusing drugs and stealing from people to get money for his addiction. He was known to have slept under a bridge by the ocean.

In May of 1987, Drane began frequenting a drug den informally called the “Crystal Palace”, which was a secret hangout for many drug-addicted young adults. It was here that he reconnected with an old friend from high school named Damon Orlic, who shared Drane’s nihilistic and antagonistic views. The pair’s destructive, bitter, and rageful personalities caused them to feed off one another and enter into an unhealthy relationship. It was Drane who suggested they gather like-minded people who shared their views and lived totally off the grid to live better and more “enlightened” lives, away from anyone who has done them, or may do them, wrong. Later in 1987, they found their first follower in a thirteen year old runaway and street thief named Jesse Hood, instilling and manipulating him with their philosophy. Michael Hood, Jesse’s father, attempted to locate his son everywhere, but was never able to.

Drane, Orlic, and Hood began traveling through the northern New England region of the United States, occasionally recruiting people along the way. They targeted males for manipulation who were emotionally unstable/insecure, social outcasts, homeless, and/or had bad experiences with romantic relationships. Nile Gottler, Grant Buckner, and Andrew “Drew” Pittman joined at this time. Drane was the group’s main voice, with Orlic and occasionally Hood serving as his aides. Drane preached that being “born again” was paramount to true happiness, and that they were the only true beings. He began to refer to himself, Orlic, Hood, Gottler, Buckner, and Pittman as “archbloods”, as was the case in his old journal.

The gang soon expanded to Quebec, Vermont and Northern Massachusetts, where they lived off the radar in the woods, attracting even more followers such as Casey M. Berger, Allan Gilbert, Nevan Wystanley, Alexander Howe, and Brandon Coates. Reports that Drane was an oppressive and violent leader early into investigations were actually falsified. According to several members, he was actually quite caring and sensitive to his follower’s needs. Drane made it clear he would prefer for his followers to be happy and actually enjoying their life in the cult instead of just using it as an escape. He also believed in working as a collective and equal society, meaning everyone had a share in the work and whatever profit merited from it. By this point, Drane also began to refer to himself as Coda, which is of unknown origin.

During this time, the Brothers of Drane created several VHS tapes that detailed their activities and rituals, including speeches conducted by Drane and Orlic, initiation processes and tactics, interviews, and discussions on their philosophy. Other sections of the tapes involved the members doing normal activities, such as sitting around campfires, playing games, shooting beer bottles, riding on the back of pickup trucks, hiking, and just hanging out. In the grounds of their communes, they wore custom uniforms they had sewn themselves, consisting of black shirts with red scarves. Drane began to introduce rituals into the cult, including blood oaths and carving symbols into their bodies with knives. When undergoing treatment in December 1999, the five survivors were found with numerous crude symbols scarred onto their arms and chests. Oftentimes, they traveled up and down New England and Eastern Canada, setting up their bases/communes in abandoned properties, cottages, or simply camps out in the wilderness, and would stay there for sometimes months on end to stay away from the media and curious locals. The Brothers of Drane eventually grew to 120 full-time members, and had become entirely self-sufficient, growing their own food, hunting, and fishing. To pay for all of their expenses, Hood and other members would regularly sell off some of their possessions, all of which would go towards funding the group’s activities.

Eventually, Drane’s behavior started to become erratic and strange. He began to twitch, talk to himself, and sometimes sit and stare at people when they tried to make conversation with him. He began making what Hood and other members viewed as questionable decisions. It is unknown what caused this shift in his personality, but many theories persist. The most likely theory is that he resumed his heroin addiction in secrecy from his other group members, which damaged his already fleeting mindset. It is noted that certain members noticed a subtle shift in Drane’s personality, from charismatic and endearing to cold and distant...

With this change in Drane’s personality also came a change to the group’s ideologies, with Drane getting increasingly paranoid about outsiders, believing them all to be evil and wanting to take the group down, no matter who they were. He began preaching notions that a certain “judgment” was coming, that hostile outsiders were conspiring to take the group down, and that the Brothers of Drane must defend themselves to the death. In one of their final VHS tapes, it is mentioned by Drane himself that “...we must be prepared to take any necessary actions in defending our ideology. Out there, they want to destroy us, to hurt us, to kill us, simply because we want to do something different from them, because we are something different from them. We are different, so we must be killed.” He also preached that humans were becoming more and more weak, and that he was personally chosen to lead whom he chose into a more godly life. Drane also spoke of an impending “race-war” that he would lead, where all the undesirable people will be killed off and the Earth will be ruled by a collective, all-archblood society. By 1997, he stopped allowing new members, and began increasing the rate at which the group moved.

The Brothers of Drane were briefly investigated by the police after member Logan Rockwell reported that the group had plans to do “something terrible to several people”. Despite Rockwell’s desperate claims to the contrary, the police could not find any tangible evidence in the group’s commune that they were planning on any illegal acts, and let the group get off scot free. After this, Rockwell was punished for “betraying” the Brothers of Drane, having his throat slit by Drane. Rockwell was later decomposed and buried in an unmarked grave nearby their commune.

The Brothers of Drane moved to what would be their final location in the forests of northern New Hampshire in 1998. Through the summer, reports of “strange men in masks and bandanas” surfaced in the towns of Colesburg, Pittsburg, and Errol, which were later revealed to be the Brothers of Drane stalking random people, selecting victims. Later that year, the group began conducting what Drane called “rides”, which were forceful abductions of both random people and those who certain members felt had wronged them in their lives, including friends and even family. Their victims were brought back to wherever the group had set up their base of operations and locked in either a bedroom or a basement. They were then tortured and eventually killed in brutal ways, and afterwards had their possessions stolen. Several victims were chained, had their heads shaved, and starved and/or dehydrated. Damon Orlic murdered his ex-girlfriend Alyssa Orlic by strangling her to death. Jon Meyers murdered his daughter Isabelle Meyers by beating her head multiple times with a baseball bat. Brandon Coates murdered his sister Jennifer “Jenny” Coates by shooting her in the head. Drane was known to hire “associates” to assist him and the Brothers in their mission, with only one being identified as Robyn Hartmann who is now facing many years in prison. After the victim’s deaths, they often had crude symbols carved into their foreheads, arms, and legs with knives and sharp sticks. Many of these murders were documented on the VHS tapes, though only a select few pieces of footage has ever been leaked. The group’s final murders occurred in February of 1999. College students Daniel Hatch and Megan Nault were crucified and burned after being abducted from their campus late at night, along with an unknown male. Hood, who refused to take part in these killings, later gave an account of the murders of Daniel and Megan, “They were stabbed through their hands and feet. I watched them squirm and squeal, but I couldn’t really do anything. Then they were lit up. I never really questioned anything I saw before that, but after I saw Danny’s skin melt from his body like a marshmallow over a fire, I knew I was in a fucking dark place”.

Hood, as well as several other members, had become horrified at what the Brothers of Drane had become. Though they were certainly hostile towards outsiders, they never intended to legitimately kill or otherwise harm anyone. Hood, Ty Cole, Calvin Henlay, Andrew Pittman, and Dallas Caulfield began to organize some sort of rebellion, deciding to kill Drane, Orlic, and other high-ranking members as they slept, and destroy the group once and for all. Late in the night, Hood, Cole, Henley, Pittman, and Caulfield armed themselves with anything they could, including knives, hammers, and pistols. However, they were discovered by loyal members of the group, who alerted Drane and Orlic. What followed could only be described as utter chaos as the five engaged in a brief standoff followed by an intense shootout with their former group members. Hood, Cole, Henlay, and Caulfield managed to escape into the forest, but Pittman was shot dead by Drane. Hood shared one last look with Drane after his friend was shot dead before joining the others in escaping. The remaining four managed to lose the Brothers and came to an open highway, where they waited for hours for someone to help them. They finally managed to get the attention of a family returning from vacation in Maine, who took them in and drove them to a nearby police station in Colesburg.

After acquiring details from the boys, and realizing the Brothers of Drane were the ones responsible for the disappearances of 30 people in the area, the police organized a raid on the Brothers of Drane’s compound, where the group was packing up and recovering from the first shootout. Many of the cultists were either killed in the far more brutal shootout that followed or were arrested trying to flee. Drane engaged in the shootout, but after being shot in the shoulder, barricaded himself inside his room where he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. Before his death, Drane scrawled symbols all over the room with his own blood, as well as words such as retract, hellfire, stay, and sons. Police discovered Drane’s body last of all.

Investigation And Trials

An official search of the property that housed their final compound, including several other locations that the Brothers of Drane used as bases, yielded many documents and texts that described the group’s philosophy, doctrines, initiations of different members, and general structures. Other items that were discovered included various VHS tapes (with only a select few being made to the public in 2005), photographs of different members engaging in different activities, several letters addressed to Drane from five unknown associates (the contents of which are ambiguous, as Detective Daniel Morse stated that they were full of crude scribbles and silhouettes that perhaps only the group members understood), an extensive collection of books on various topics including fascism, Satanism, Luciferianism, ethnic paganism, feminism, misanthropy, mental illnesses, the slaughtering of animals, cannibalism, anarchy, occultism, weapons of mass destruction, and the corruption of society, and various items taken from their victims, including several hundred dollars in cash, wallets, bracelets, necklaces, rings, toys, etc.

64 members of the Brothers of Drane were recorded alive from the nearly 120 at its peak. The other 56 were recorded either “deceased” or “missing”. Many of the ones that were captured were found unfit to stand trial, and found to have various mental illnesses including schizophrenia, dissociative personality disorder (DPD), bipolarism, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and psychosis. The ones that were fit to stand trial were charged with heinous crimes, and remain imprisoned / institutionalized to this day. On May 9, 2004, Allan Gilbert was stabbed to death with a shiv by Joseph Pereirra, a fellow inmate at the Kennebec County Correctional in Augusta, Maine. On December 17, 2006, Brandon Coates committed suicide after hanging himself with bed sheets in his prison cell. His cellmate alleged that Coates never stopped muttering the phrase “Coda will live on”.

In the years following the demise of the Brothers of Drane, many memorials and remembrance events were created for the victims, along with raising thousands of dollars to help support them.

Belief System

Initially, the Brothers of Drane’s ideology was a blend of anti-establishment, isolationism, social deviance, misanthropy, anarchism, and the corruption of society. Drane stressed that whom he deemed as “archbloods”, or those who were higher than ordinary humans, would be personally led into an enlightened utopia where they were free of any corruption that might be imposed on them. Loyalty to the group and its cause were unquestionably absolute, and relations with outsiders was strictly prohibited unless confirmed by Drane himself. Relations with family members, friends, coworkers, etc were to be severed. The group’s members were taught how to avoid social connections with people outside of their inner circle, to “sink” into their environment, and become “indistinguishable” from the mass of people, and “untouchable.” They were taught to be “cold,” and “callous.” They learned how to “walk the earth without a care in the world,” and how to be “invisible.” They were taught to be “cunning,” and “clever.” They learn that “humans are inferior,” and the belief that they themselves “were to be worshiped,” “adored,” and “followed absolutely and blindly.”

A former member of the Brothers of Drane who has been imprisoned and prefers to remain unnamed, has described the group's theology and its practices - “In the beginning, Warren was everything to us. A lot of us came from nothing, you know? We were orphans, street kids, homeless bums, and had come from broken homes. He promised us a place where we would finally be given the respect we deserved. Other people didn’t matter. They were nothing but pure filth, scum of the Earth, specks of dust beneath our fingernails. I could almost compare him to Robin Hood in that aspect. We took from the rich and corrupted and gave it to ourselves, the needy and poor. After that, though, it totally just spun out of control.”

Gradually, the Brothers of Drane began to take their ideologies to the extreme, exasperated by Drane’s increasing paranoia and possible drug use. It was enforced that not only was the outside world evil and was to be avoided at all times, but the people inside it were corrupted and wishing to do the group harm because the Brothers “never followed mainstream society’s norms”. The group began to take extreme measures, barring anyone else from joining, being increasingly on the move, and even teaching each other combat techniques, all for the supposed “race-war” between archbloods and ordinary humans and the overall destiny of archbloods ruling the world. The Brothers became vengeful and almost militaristic, adopting revanchist beliefs that those who ridiculed, mocked, and harmed them in any way during their lives were to be punished in brutal ways. They became increasingly paranoid, delusional, and extreme, and decided that the only way they could survive the coming war was to “rise up” and lead the world into the world of archbloods. They were taught that they were destined to be the vanguard of a violent revolution against society, and that no one could stop them.

Media

This Is Our Apology (2005 - Autobiography Of Jesse Hood, Tyler Cole, Calvin Henlay, And Dallas Caulfield)

Brothers Of Drane (2019 - Miniseries Covering The Lives Warren Drane And The Brothers Of Drane)

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