Missing Girls Found in Raid on Cult Compound

John Coltharp was arrested on Friday on suspicion of kidnapping his two daughters

Young girls 'held by Utah Mormon cult leader' found cold and hungry in storage locker

An Amber Alert was issued for the two girls but later canceled.

Samuel Warren Shaffer (below), who purports himself to be a prophet and the head of the "Knights of the Crystal Blade" cult, was arrested as the result of an Amber Alert issued for Hattie Coltharp, 4, and Dina Coltharp, 8.

In a news release late Tuesday, the Iron County Sheriff's Office said an Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic team is assisting in the collection of evidence in the case.

The mother of those two girls, Micha Coltharp, said her ex-husband John Coltharp took the children (despite being denied custody) in September and she hadn't seen them since.

Four Utah children - two boys and two girls - missing from their home in Spring City since September have been found safe; authorities believe their father kidnapped them from his estranged wife and took them to a cult he co-founded, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Shaffer was booked on four counts of child abuse and two counts of child kidnapping, all felony charges. He did not yet have an attorney listed in the court documents. He said Samuel Shaffer was not a polygamist or part of an established group and questioned the characterization of the area compound.

It's believed Coltharp was prepared to marry off his daughters into polygamy.

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In November, Utah voters broke the stranglehold of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), which had controlled the town of Hildale since settling there more than 100 years ago. It was believed Samuel Shaffer was the Prophet of the Knights of the Crystal Blade. She has custody of the kids. Since then, the mother divorced Coltharp and was awarded full custody of the children.

The family believed the two men had decamped 200 miles south to a remote area near Cedar City where they might meet other people with similar beliefs or convince others to join them as Coltharp's parents had, Lee said.

Then, on December 1, her ex-husband turned up at his parents' home.

Shaffer initially refused to tell authorities where Dinah Coltharp and Samantha Shaffer were. His ex-wife was granted custody on November 27, but the search for them intensified when Coltharp was arrested and refused to reveal their location.

There deputies found and rescued two of the four missing children. A relative adds family members feared Coltharp was planning marriages for his daughters as he "said to all of [his] siblings in the past that girls are meant to get married at the age of 12", per the Tribune. These two children were not properly dressed for the cold temperatures and did not have food or water at that time.

Law enforcement found the other two girls in an abandoned single-wide mobile home in "deplorable living conditions". All but one had been released by Tuesday. Her condition is unknown at this time.

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