Mass Suicide Fears As Sect Goes Missing

An anxious hunt was mounted for 13 members of a religious sect after it was feared they had committed mass suicide.

The five adults and eight children, aged three to 17, left letters saying they were awaiting an disaster and were going to see Jesus and their relatives in heaven.

But officers found the group, which had busted off from a Christian church, praying a park in Palmdale, Los Angeles County.

Police had searched a extensive swath of southern California after husbands of two of the runaways alerted them.

Officers described the group, made up of El Salvadoran immigrants and led by solitary mum Reyna Marisol Chicas, 32, as 'cult-like'.

The husbands said they thought members had been "brainwashed" by Chicas. Police spokesman Steve Whitmore said: "The letters state they are all going to heaven to meet Jesus. Some were saying goodbye." Bookmark and Share