Search for child takes on urgency

Boy kidnapped from hospital is malnourished

Deseret News, September 21, 1998
By Joe Costanzo

Law enforcement officers stepped up their search for a kidnapped child Monday, saying it's vital the badly malnourished boy be found soon.

Christopher and Kyndra Fink removed their 20-month-old son, David, from Primary Children's Medical Center during a supervised visit Saturday morning, police say. The child was being treated at the Salt Lake hospital while awaiting placement in a foster home.

FBI spokesman Craig Phillippe said the Finks may have headed east toward the Price area and possibly Manti, where they have links to a fundamentalist religious group. But agents also were searching undisclosed areas, he said.

"We're very anxious to find them because we've been told that he (Christopher Fink) and his wife don't intend to feed the child," Phillippe said. "They apparently believe he is the Christ child or a prophet and that he must be kept pure."

The Division of Child and Family Services took the child into state custody after he was brought to the hospital last week suffering from life-threatening malnutrition and dehydration. A hospital spokesman said it appeared David had been fed nothing but lettuce and watermelon. The child weighed just 16 pounds, the FBI stated.

Phillippe said it is believed the Finks are members of the Manti-based True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days, a polygamist group led by James D. Harmston.

Founded in 1994, the TLC, as it is known, has about 300 followers who believe that the "great day of cleansing and purification is at hand" and that the elect will find salvation in Manti and Sanpete County.

The kidnapping was captured on videotape by a hospital security camera, which showed Christopher Fink with David in his arms, slipping through the main entrance with a nurse and a guard in pursuit. Kyndra Fink was waiting outside in their car.

As Christopher jumped into the vehicle, the nurse grabbed the door and was dragged for several dozen feet. The car was described as a faded red 1986 Subaru, license number 126 KHV. Christopher Fink, 23, is 5 feet 8 inches tall, 195 pounds with long blond hair. Kyndra Fink, also in her early 20s, is 8 1/2 months pregnant, the FBI states.

Family members have told authorities that Christopher Fink is a skilled survivalist who is capable of living in the wilderness for extended periods. The Finks' last known address was in West Valley City, but they also have relatives in Pennsylvania as well as their religious ties to Manti.

"We're looking everywhere for them," Phillippe said.

Those with information on the whereabouts of the Finks are urged to call their local law enforcement agency or the FBI at (801) 579-1400.

Note: See the following statement issued by the TLC about the Finks

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