How this series was reported
Associated Press/April 17, 2005
To report the story of Charles Meade, his End Time Ministry, and the changes they wrought in Lake City, Fla., The Associated Press interviewed 81 people, including local residents, area business owners, government and religious leaders, former End Timers and family members of people still in the sect.
Many spoke on the record. Nearly all of the details they provided were corroborated by others who asked that their names be withheld, saying they feared reprisals against themselves, their property, or relatives still in the sect.
The AP also reviewed scores of public documents including marriage, census and motor vehicle records; death certificates; building permits; business registries; property and tax records; and criminal and civil court proceedings.
Details of Meade's teachings were gleaned from more than 70 cassette tapes of sermons he gave in the 1970s,'80s and early '90s.
Specific sources for today's installment of the four-part series:
- Information about Meade's house purchase comes from property records.
- The description of Meade's dress, habits, house, and car are from interviews with Lake City residents including his neighbors, Evelyn and Carl Little and their son, Robert; and former End Timers including Rebekah Hoffman, Joni Cutler, Tom Pearson, Jim Fallucco and his wife, Jackie.
- Details about improvements to Meade's house come from county building permits, land and tax records, and from Lake City residents Judy Ayers and her daughter, Laura, as well as from former members of the sect, including Pearson, Brian Johnson, and the Falluccos.
- Information about End Timers seeking to buy houses close to Meade's, and about realtor Charles Sparks' brokering of the sales, come from former End Timers including Jim Fallucco and Pearson, and from Lake City residents including the Littles, Judy and Laura Ayers, Richard Philpot, Larry Tucker and Jim West.
- Details about the growth of the sect in Lake City, the businesses they came to control, and their purchase of homes in Southwood Acres come from property records, the local Chamber of Commerce, a task force formed in the 1985 to examine the sect's impact on the community, business registries at the Columbia County courthouse in Lake City, and relatives of former and current End Timers in South Dakota and Montana, including Roger and Vonda Peterson and Sandy Huber.
- Details of Meade making deposits at Lake City banks come from bank employees and local residents who asked not to be identified. Information about the beginnings of his ministry come from interviews with Cutler and family members of End Timers, including the Petersons, Sandy and Chuck Huber, Lorraine Heser and John Cooke.
- The End Timers beliefs - including taboos about lipstick, pets and holidays - were gleaned from tapes of Meade's sermons and from interviews with former sect members including the Falluccos, Pearson, Cutler and Johnson, and relatives of former and current End Timers, including Sandy Huber, the Petersons and Cooke.
- The reports of armed guards and road blocks in Southwood come from residents including Judy Ayers and the Littles. (Relevant police reports and citizens' complaints have been destroyed as a matter of routine.)
- The description of End Timers gathering to welcome Meade home from a trip was provided by the Falluccos and the Littles.
- Reports of pets found dead are from residents including Sandra Smith, the Ayres and the Littles.
- And the description of End Timers working on their houses late into the night are from residents including Ayers.
For all installments of the series, relevant TV and newspaper reports, mostly from the 1980s and 1990s, were reviewed as a check against the recollections of those interviewed. They included broadcasts by ABC-TV, the Public Broadcasting Service and KELO-TV in South Dakota, and stories in three Florida newspapers, as well as unedited video footage shot by South Dakota TV crews.
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