Two Utah girls have been found safe almost three months after they were allegedly kidnapped by their father, who family members feared had betrothed them to a polygamist sect leader.
On Monday morning, the Iron County Sheriff's Office raided the Knights of the Crystal Blade compound. Coltharp's sons were removed from the compound while police arrested Shaffer, 34, who told authorities where they could find Coltharp's daughters, along with his own two.
Shaffer, described as a self-styled prophet, was charged Tuesday with child kidnapping and other counts.
Coltharp had always been interested in arcane Mormon teachings, but his interest in polygamy and "prepping" for doomsday had intensified in recent years, his brother-in-law Michael Lee said. Since then, the mother divorced Coltharp and was awarded full custody of the children.
Coltharp's sister Heather Coltharp Lee took her Facebook on Monday and wrote, "I hope my brother rots in jail, which pains me so much to say because he is my little brother, and I love him".
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The sheriff's office said the girls would have been unlikely to have survived the frigid night, reported CBS News. They considered themselves separated but still lived together when he quit his job and moved with the children to his parents' home in May, Lee said.
The boys, ages 6 and 7, were found on Monday just outside of Cedar City, Utah but Coltharp is refusing to divulge the location of his daughters.
Police said two of the girls were considered to be kidnapping victims after their father dropped off the grid with them and their two brothers in mid-September.
The family believed that John Coltharp had handed over their children to Shaffer who is a self-proclaimed "prophet" and was involved in cult-like activities with John Coltharp.
Coltharp, is now in Sanpete County Jail on charges of kidnapping and obstruction of justice.
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Coltharp is not cooperating with investigators.
All four of the young girls were transported to local hospitals for care. An Amber Alert was issued for the two girls but later canceled.
Once he had been apprehended by deputies, Shaffer provided law enforcement with the general location of two girls, Lily Shaffer and Hattie Coltharp, who were inside two blue plastic 50-gallon water barrels. However, he reportedly refused to tell anyone where the children were. "[They] spent an estimated 24 hours inside the barrel in sub-freezing temperatures".
The release says the girls were in poor health, dehydrated and lethargic. Her condition was not immediately available. The children complained of hunger while en route to the hospital.
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