A frantic search for 13 members of a California 'cult' has ended today after all were found safe in a Los Angeles park.
It is still not clear what the group's intentions were. The five adults - all women - and eight children had sparked a desperate manhunt when they disappeared after leaving letters for loved ones saying they were going to meet Jesus - leading to fears of a mass suicide...
...The group appeared to have been led by a single mother-of-two, Reyna Chicas.
It included children as young as three - as well as her own two children.
The group had left behind cell phones, identifications, deeds to property and letters indicating they were awaiting the Rapture.
They also predicted an apocalyptic event.
'Essentially,the letters say they are all going to heaven to meet Jesus and theirdeceased relatives,' sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
'Some of the letters were saying goodbye.'
Sheriff's officials in Palmdale, California, described the group, made up of El Salvadorean immigrants, as 'cult-like'...
...Chicas apparently had formed her own religious group, a sheriff's spokesman said.
About 12 to 15 people would gather at her home in Palmdale, a high-desert city of 139,000, and one night about a week ago, they didn't leave until 2 a.m., said neighbor Cheri Kofahl...
...About six months ago, the group had planned to head to Vasquez Rocks, a wilderness area near Palmdale, to await a catastrophic earthquake or similar event.
But one member of the group revealed details of the trip to relatives, Parker said. The trip was called off and the member kicked out.
The group had broken off from a mainstream Christian church in Palmdale.
Parker did not know what church they had belonged to previously, and it does not appear that they had given their sect a name.
'We've got a group here that's practicing some orthodox and some unorthodox Christianity,' Parker said.
'Obviously this falls under the unorthodox.'
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Female-led California "cult" members found safe in Los Angeles park after fears of mass suicide
Yet another one, as reported on September 19, 2010: