Due to an Amber Alert in Iron County, Utah, two girls, Dinah Coltharp, 8, and Hattie Coltharp, 4, are back in their mother’s home after allegedly being kidnapped by their father. It’s reported they were brought to the makeshift compound of a bizarre Mormon offshoot known as The Knights of the Crystal Blade.
Taken to Live as Part of a Cult
John Alvin Coltharp, 33, and Samuel Shaffer, 34, are members of The Knights of the Crystal Blade.
Coltharp’s wife had initiated separation. The two had an informal custody arrangement until Colthrap called her and told her she should give up being a mother. After that, he cut off communication entirely.
The search for Coltharp’s children began when a welfare check by the Iron County Sheriff’s department had found Coltharp’s home empty in September of this year. Coltharp, along with his kids, two sons and two daughters, had disappeared.
Shaffer’s custodial situation at this time is currently unknown, but he has two daughters.
Shaffer and Coltharp had similar interests in arcane Mormon beliefs. It is believed that the two men took their families to help form the foundation of The Knights of the Crystal Blade, with Schaffer acting as their prophet.
Coltharp was caught at his parents’ home on December 1, but refused to give up the location of his children despite being under arrest. Shaffer, his own two daughters, and all of Coltharp’s children were still missing.
Missing Girls Found Alive
Acting on a tip, police discovered a makeshift compound created from shipping containers in the unincorporated area of Lund in Iron County.
Shaffer had already left along with both his and Coltharp’s daughters, but Coltharp’s sons were recovered. With the daughters still missing, an Amber Alert was issued, leading to another tip that Shaffer had been spotted walking down a road located several miles away from the compound.
Once he was picked up, Shaffer revealed the location of an abandoned mobile home parked towards the desert. Two of the girls were found inside the home, while two others were found in water barrels outside of the mobile home. They had been ordered to stay in the barrels despite sub-freezing temperatures for a period of over 24 hours.
Coltharp is currently charged with child kidnapping and obstructing justice by concealing a person. Shaffer has been charged with two counts of child kidnapping and four counts of intentional child abuse causing injury.