Home / U.S. / Officials: the Utah apocalyptic sect member hid girls in plastic barrels; accused of kidnapping a child

Officials: the Utah apocalyptic sect member hid girls in plastic barrels; accused of kidnapping a child




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CEDAR CITY – A man believed to be the leader of an Iron County End of the World sect hid two girls outdoors in two 50-gallon plastic barrels and put another two in an abandoned motorhome for approximately 24 hours. hours before the police found the children in a climate of zero degrees, the sheriff's office reported Tuesday.

Authorities arrested Samuel Warren Shaffer, 34, shortly after the issuance of an Amber Alert Monday afternoon for two daughters of John Alvin Coltharp, a Shaffer associate. When the police located Shaffer, he told them where he left the children, authorities said.

Coltharp's daughters, ages 4 and 8, were not dressed for the cold and ran out of food and water in Lund, an unincorporated area 30 miles north of Cedar City, the County Sheriff's Office said. Iron in a statement. Shaffer's two daughters, ages 5 and 7, were also hiding with the Coltharp children, the sheriff's office said.

All four children were evaluated at Cedar City Hospital, and the 5-year-old was transported to the Primary Children's Hospital, the sheriff's office said. He did not provide details of his condition.

The girls in the barrels were found hungry, cold and nervous; those who were in the trailer, at a distance of five to ten miles, seemed dehydrated and devoid of energy, said the sheriff's sergeant. From the Schlosser.

Shaffer was in custody to investigate child abuse and kidnapping, all serious crimes, according to a probable cause statement.

On Tuesday, prosecutors filed a child kidnapping indictment against Coltharp, who is considered a prophet by the Iron Age end-of-the-world sect. Police say their four small children disappeared in September.

Coltharp, 33, of Spring City, Sanpete County, was charged in District 6 with a first-degree felony and obstruction of justice in harboring or concealing a person, a class misdemeanor TO.

His children, two sons and two daughters, disappeared in September just before his wife asked for a divorce. Micha Soble requested a temporary restraining order and custody of her four children for fear that they "suffer immediate and irreparable harm" if they are allowed to be with Coltharp.

Soble said that her estranged husband is "a predator of the end of the world who believes that the world will soon come to an end," and that she had fled to an unknown place with the children and their parents, according to court records.

"(Coltharp) belongs to a religious group called Knights of the Crystal Blade and is likely to live in the Cedar City area with the sect's prophet, Samuel Warren Shaffer," he said in court records.

Coltharp was arrested Friday to investigate the abduction, but he refused to tell the agents where his children were, according to police.

The man's two sons were found safe after Iron County sheriffs raided a compound on Monday. But the girls were still missing, which caused the issuance of an Amber Alert.

The formal charges by Shaffer were pending on Tuesday. The authorities complied with a search warrant in three places, although they did not say where. The FBI was helping to gather evidence at each location, the sheriff's office said.

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