Three months after they were allegedly kidnapped by their “doomsday prepper” dad and betrothed to a cult leader, two Utah girls were found safe on Monday after authorities raided a polygamous sect called “Knights of the Crystal Blade.”
Hattie Briella Coltharp, 4, and Dinah Elizabeth Coltharp, 8, were being held in the cult’s compound outside Lund, Utah, according to a FOX13 Salt Lake City report. Working from a tip, authorities arrested Samuel Warren Shaffer, 34, who calls himself a prophet. The girls’ father, John Coltharp, is a member of the sect.
Coltharp, 33, had been arrested last week on suspicion of kidnapping his own four children, including the girls’ two brothers. The boys were found, but the father refused to tell authorities the girls’ location, even after they offered to release him on his own recognizance if he provided the information.
Coltharp is now being held on $50,000 bail and no formal charges have been filed.
Micha Soble, the girls’ mother, told FOX13 she hadn’t seen her children since Sept. 10, when their father took them and disappeared with his grandparents. Soble’s attorney told the Salt Lake Tribune her ex-husband “stated, according to [Soble’s] understanding, that he would rather see the kids dead than with the police.”
“They are with a man that calls himself Samuel ‘The Seer,'” Soble said. “His name is Samuel Warren Shaffer and he believes he holds the keys of this dispensation–and he has been many people throughout the history of time–and that he has been reincarnated. They are following his prophecies and I believe he is with them and helping hide the children.”
It was believed that Coltharp had given his daughters to Shaffer for marriage.
Said to be a survivalist and “doomsday prepper,” Coltharp doesn’t believe in modern medicine, according to court documents. His ex-wife also said Coltharp carried a pistol and threatened to send a police officer or childcare worker “to the next life” if they took away his children.
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