Clive Doyle, one of last surviving members of Koresh’s Branch Davidian sect, dies at 81

KWTX News, Texas/June 11, 2022

By Tommy Witherspoon

Waco, Texas -- Clive Doyle, one of the last surviving members of David Koresh’s Branch Davidian sect died Thursday, June 9, at the age of 81 after a long bout with cancer.

Doyle’s body is at Lake Shore Funeral home and Crematorium, which is handling the arrangements. A spokeswoman at the funeral home said no service is planned.

Doyle survived the April 19, 1993, fire at the Branch Davidian compound and the government accused him of helping set the fire because of burn patterns on his hands and fuel on his jacket.

Doyle lost his daughter in the fire and has denied he helped ignite the blaze. He lived the remainder of his life in Waco after the siege of the Davidian complex.

Originally from Australia, Doyle came to the United States in 1964, flying into Dallas with three or four others to be picked up at the airport by members of the main arm of the religious group who then brought them to the compound outside of Waco.

On February 28, 1993, a deadly gun battle erupted at the Branch Davidian compound as Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents attempted to serve warrants and arrest the group’s leader, David Koresh, on weapons charges.

The shootout claimed the lives of four ATF agents and left 17 others wounded. After the shootout, the FBI took charge of the standoff and for 51 days attempted to convince Koresh and the Davidians to surrender.

On April 19, 1993, one of the most tragic days in modern American history, 76 people, mostly women and children, died in a raging fire at the Davidian complex; the origin of which remains controversial to this day.

Doyle escaped a fiery death through a hole in the wall after the FBI launched a final assault on the compound, using tanks and tear gas.

In an interview with KWTX in 2018, Doyle discussed the inferno and the allegations made against him.

“When the smoke came in and made everything pitch black, almost immediately, the heat pushed me down to the ground,” said Doyle. “I never saw anything. I never heard anything as far as anybody saying ‘hey come on let’s go, let’s get out of the hold, follow me’ or any of that.”

“I look back over my shoulder – the hole I came out of was just a mass of flames, my jacket was melting, my skin was rolling off my hands, and the thought’s going through my head ‘nobody’s coming out of there now, I’m the only one that’s made it out,’” he said.

When he spoke with KWTX in 2018, Doyle said he still believes in Koresh’s teaching, and that he believed Koresh, along with his daughter and the other followers who perished at the complex, will be resurrected.

“People ask me, ‘well how come you still believe in David after all these years?’” said Doyle. “Well, I didn’t buy into David as a person, I bought into an idea he presented. I still believe in that idea, the foundation of which is the Bible.”

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