Family Seeks Help for 4 Kidnapped Children Rescued from Polygamist Compound
The children were allegedly kidnapped by their father and taken to a doomsday cult.
The family of four children allegedly kidnapped by their father and hidden at a doomsday cult compound is asking for help in rehabilitating the traumatized youngsters.
Mom Micha Soble has established a YouCaring site for her two sons and two daughters, who have been home for three months. "They are physically recovered for the most part, but emotionally, it's a far different story," Soble wrote on the fund-raising page. Her children "fear flesh and blood monsters who have done unspeakable acts," she said.
Soble's ex-husband, John Coltharp, 34, has pleaded not guilty to charges of child sodomy and kidnapping. His fellow self-styled doomsday prophet, Samuel Shaffer, has pleaded guilty to child rape and abuse charges and faces at least 25 years in prison at his sentencing hearing scheduled for next month, authorities said.
The two men allegedly swapped their oldest daughters to each other as child brides, according to prosecutors. Coltharp's daughter was 8 and Shaffer's was 7, according to Soble.
Coltharp's sons were told to stay away from their sisters and were threatened with being killed, Soble said.
Authorities descended on a makeshift compound of shipping crates about 275 miles south of Salt Lake in December. The raid followed a report from Soble that she had not seen her children in months after her husband took them to live with his parents.
The inhabitants of the remote desert gathering believed the end of the world was nigh, and that men could have multiple wives, including child brides, authorities said.
During the raid, officers found the the boys, but the girls were not discovered for another day because they had been hidden, authorities said. The girls had been secreted in a trailer and 50-gallon barrels with no food or water in freezing temperatures.
The children were treated for dehydration and exposure.
"They fear hunger and cold, they fear not having a home," their mother wrote in her funding appeal. "They need stability, the need a place to feel safe."
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