Members of a religious cult feared to be planning a mass suicide in a California desert were discovered hours after they went missing. Officials combed desert areas in their search for the group, which included eight children, aged as young as three, and was led by a suburban housewife Reyna Marisol Chicas, 32.
But hours after the fears of the mass suicide were publicised, the 13 people were found by a neighbourhood patrol on Sunday, praying outside a high school in Palmdale for an end to school violence and sexual immorality.
“No crime has been committed and there are no charges pending,” said Captain Mike Parker of Palmdale sheriff’s station, where the group was taken for “discussions about their future intentions“.
Fears had been raised earlier overnight when it emerged that the group, made up of El Salvadorian immigrants, left behind a bag with a relative which contained farewell notes in which members indicated the world was about to end and they were “going to heaven.”
An alert issued by the California Highway Patrol said: “It is believed, through further investigation, that their intentions are to commit mass suicide.”
Police Captain Mike Parker said: “The letters essentially stated that they were all going to heaven shortly to meet Jesus and their deceased relatives…”
The bag they left behind also contained mobile phones, cash and deeds to their homes.
Uh, OK. I guess they changed their minds. Or whatever they use for decision-making.