Mass-suicide fears prompt search for members of cult-like group in Palmdale
The group was believed to be traveling in three vehicles: a white 2004 Nissan Quest, a 1995 white Mercury Villager and a newer-model, silver-colored Toyota Tundra, according to the California Highway Patrol, which issued an alert for them.
"It is believed, through further investigation, that [their] intentions are to commit mass suicide," said a California Highway Patrol alert, which was based on information from sheriff's officials.
Letters left behind by the group do not
specifically mention suicide but contain references to "going to
heaven" and the "end of the world," said Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker.
Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said the children were ages 3 to 17. The adults and children were reported missing Saturday afternoon by the husbands of two women in the group, officials said.
The adults, including three sisters, belong a religious sect that broke off from a Palmdale church whose name was unknown, Whitmore said.Read the full story here.
--Patrick J. McDonnell and Richard Winton
Photo: Reyna Marisol Chicas, one of those missing. L.A. Sheriff's Department.