Former ‘prophet’ of doomsday church appears in court following Amber Alert

Southern Utah

IRON COUNTY (ABC4 Utah)- Samuel Shaffer, the man who officials say abused and kidnapped two sisters earlier this week, was charged on Wednesday with two counts of child kidnapping and four counts of child abuse.

Monday an Amber Alert was issued for Dinah and Hattie Coltharp. Officials eventually found them along with two of Shaffer’s biological daughters in “deplorable conditions”. Two of the girls were found stuffed inside a 50 gallon water barrel. Investigators say they were there for 24 hours in subfreezing temperatures and were improperly dressed with no food or water.

Police say Shaffer told them he was the prophet of the “Knights of the Crystal Blade” but had recently turned over the position to Dinah and Hattie’s father, John Coltharp. Coltharp was also charged earlier this week for kidnapping and obstruction of justice.

The church is an LDS offshoot that follows fundamental doctrines. It appears to be a “doomsday” type of religion.

In his first court appearance Wednesday, Shaffer requested a court-appointed attorney. He is currently being held on no bail. His next court appearance is in two weeks. 

This a developing story. Updates will be posted as they become available. 

If you suspect child abuse or neglect is occurring, call the Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline 855.323.3237.

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