SA's cult girl arrested in US

The Star, South Africa/June 4, 2005
By Kashiefa Ajam

A runaway Johannesburg teenager, who flew to the United States to marry a cult leader 40 years her senior, has been detained by American authorities.

And, the Johannesburg Director of Public Prosecutions will soon make a decision on whether to prosecute the cult leader, who is known as Amadon, for abduction.

Amadon coaxed Northcliff teenager [D. M.] for two years over the Internet before persuading her to leave her home and marry him.

National police spokesperson Phuti Sethati confirmed this week that the investigation into the alleged abduction of [D. M.] had been conducted by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit in Johannesburg. Sethati said the case docket was forwarded to the National Director for Public Prosecutions for a decision.

Last Friday [D. M.] was arrested by Immigration officials and the US police at the offices of the Living Love Fellowship (LLF), in the state of Oregon.

[D. M.] mother, [Mrs. M.] , and older sister, Laurie, had earlier arrived in the United States in an attempt to get her to come back to South Africa.

The arrest of [D. M.] was carried out by law enforcement officers on the grounds that she was in the United States illegally, but she was later released after the intervention of the cult's lawyer, [Mrs. M.] said [D. M.] told police officers that she wanted to see her mother and sister.

"She kept saying 'I can't believe that you're here'. She seemed so excited and she looked radiant. We embraced and gave her our gifts and we had a wonderful half hour together," said [Mrs. M.] .

She said she and Laurie later visited [D. M.] at the cult's homestead. and described it as "sinister". "There was a long driveway and 'no trespassing' signs were posted on logs all the way up the road. Two gargoyles stood at the entrance. A sign declared the areas in front of the door as a 'sensitive area'." After spending time at the home with [D.M.] and other young people, [Mrs. M.] and Laurie went back to their motel.

At 11pm that night, [D. M.] and Amadon arrived at the motel. [D. M.] had two packages from Amadon - one for her mother and one for Laurie. [D. M.] said she and Amadon would only meet with Laurie because of the unpleasant things [Mrs. M.] had said about Amadon in the past.

"[D. M.] said we needed to apologise to Amadon. The packages contained all the mail that had come from our family. Amadon said before he would see us, we needed to apologise to him.

We were aghast. I told [D. M.] this was a strange request, and she then left." The next day [D. M.] repeatedly phoned her mother, asking whether she had read the packages.

She pleaded with Laurie to apologise to Amadon so that she [D. M.] could see her mother and sister again. "She had been hoping to go to dinner with us that night, but we refused to apologise to Amadon. [D. M.] told us, 'This won't work'. Then she hung up the phone, and that was the last time we spoke to her."

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