Sect leader pleads not guilty to stalking

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/March 27, 2002

Eau Claire -- A leader of a religious group pleaded not guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor charges accusing her of participating in stalking and disorderly conduct in the delivery of what police have called threatening letters to two funeral homes.

Kathryn Padilla, 55, of Augusta, who claims she is a prophet, is the founder of The Rest of Jesus Ministry, which believes that embalming desecrates the body and that the dead should be wrapped only in a simple white sheet.

Padilla admitted writing letters that were delivered to two Eau Claire funeral homes on Feb. 6 and Feb. 7, according to court records. The letters were delivered just days after two funeral home workers were killed in Hudson, about 65 miles away.

Authorities initially said Padilla was a suspect in the Feb. 5 slayings but later said no evidence indicated Padilla or her followers were involved.

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