April 22, 2018

Father kidnapped his 4 children, joined polygamous doomsday cult, police say

06 December 2017, 07:53 | Taylor George

4-year-old Hattie Briella Coltharp

4-year-old Hattie Briella Coltharp

Two girls, 8-year-old Dinah and 4-year-old Hattie Coltharp, were found safe and sound by police on December 4, along with their two brothers, William, 7, and Seth, 6.

Four children allegedly kidnapped by their father were found on Monday in Lund, Utah., after a tip led police to their locations, reported CBS News.

The father, 33-year-old John Coltharp, is reportedly a member of a small fundamentalist Mormon group called the Knights of the Crystal Blade, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Family members who spoke to the Denver Post believed Coltharp gave his two daughters to Shaffer as brides, and feared for their safety given previous comments threatening to kill his children if the government tried to take them.

After raiding what is believed to be a religious compound, police arrested John on suspicion of kidnapping the children. He did not yet have an attorney listed in the court documents. He said Samuel Shaffer was not a polygamist or part of an established group and questioned the characterization of the area compound. The mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints disavowed polygamy more than a century ago. Together, Samuel and John reportedly started a movement called Knights of the Crystal Blade, and Cindi was apparently concerned that Dinah and Hattie were being hidden by their father so that he could prepare them for marriage at an early age.

She added that he had "threatened to send any DCFS [Division of Child and Family Services] worker or police officer to the next life if they try to take the children from him".

Officials took him into custody and he told them where they could find the four young girls.

Soble filed for divorce after Coltharp disappeared with their children and was subsequently awarded sole custody.

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Then, on December 1, her ex-husband turned up at his parents' home.

With Coltharp in custody but the children still missing, the search intensified and went public.

Micha Coltharp had a conversation with CBS4 when her two sons have been recovered while her two daughters were still missing, the mother told CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger, "I'm so unbelievably happy to talk to my boys and they are okay and so sorry for my girls and it's so sad they are suffering and they don't have each other or their parents".

Authorities later found Shaffer walking along a dirt road several miles west of the property.

He told police two girls had been placed in the water barrels to hide them from police.

The two children had been in the barrels in subfreezing temperatures for about 24 hours, were not dressed for the cold and had no food or water.

The other two girls were found in a mobile home with signs of dehydration. All but one had been released by Tuesday. As of this afternoon at 5 p.m., her condition is unknown.

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