Suspicions of ‘cult activity’ end in sex charges against Washington dad

Charge: Man, mothers taught dozen children to hide abuse from police

Seattle Post Intelligencer/May 26, 2015

By Levi Puulkkinen

Thrown together at an Ellensburg-area campground, the family’s campsite seemed all wrong.

A Kittitas County sheriff’s deputy, called to the camp following reports of unattended children there, would later describe a feeling that there was “some kind of cult activity” going on at Melford Warren Jr.’s campsite.

Deputies found plenty of kids, but no food or shelter. Or parents.

Now, though, investigators claim Warren, 43, was nearby when deputies arrived on Sept. 15. Warren was in the woods, detectives say, raping one of his 12 children.

The incident proved a near miss for investigators, one of several during the eight-month investigation into Warren and his two lovers, Shannon Felicia Ann Smith, 41, and Amanjot Kaur Jaswal, 28. Warren was arrested – he’d been charged elsewhere with attacking Smith with a sword – but then released, only to disappear.

Following up on charges brought May 15 by Kitsap County prosecutors, federal marshals arrested Warren on Thursday. He’d run about as far as he could go – marshals found him in Florida, where he remains jailed pending his extradition to Washington.

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