Two missing girls who may have been betrothed to a cult leader were found safe Monday evening after they were allegedly kidnapped by their “doomsday prepper” father three months ago.
An Amber Alert was cancelled Monday evening after Dinah Coltharp, 8, and Hattie Coltharp, 4, were found safe outside Lund, Utah, about 175 miles away from their home in Spring City.
Their two brothers, ages 6 and 7, were found hours earlier when police raided a compound used by the polygamist cult Knights of the Crystal Blade, which their father John Coltharp created with the self-styled prophet Samuel Warren Shaffer, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The four Coltharp children had been missing since September.
Mother Micha Soble, who filed for divorce and obtained sole custody of her children, said her husband had been excommunicated by the Mormon church before he went on to form the religious-survivalist cult last year.
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.
Coltharp was arrested Friday on suspicion of kidnapping and obstruction of justice, but refused to tell authorities where his children were..
The Iron County Sheriff’s Office then raided the Knights of the Crystal Blade compound on Monday morning and found Coltharp’s two sons.
Acting on a tip, the Iron County Sheriff’s Office managed to arrest Shaffer, who then told authorities where his two daughters, along with the two Coltharp girls were located, the Spectrum reported.
One of Shaffer’s own daughters was found locked in a trailer with one of the Coltharp girls about five miles away from the compound, while the other two were found hiding in water barrels, according to the Spectrum.
Authorities said the girls, who were found in good condition, are undergoing a medical evaluation.
Coltharp’s own sister Heather Coltharp Lee wrote a Facebook post on Monday that read, “I hope my brother rots in jail, which pains me so much to say because he is my little brother, and I love him. But his choices have destroyed so many lives.”