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Family Reacts After Two Young Girls Found In Polygamist Sect

By Rick Sallinger

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – All four children of Micha Coltharp, who grew up in Highlands Ranch, are safe after their rescue Monday.

They had disappeared with their father three months earlier and hadn’t been heard from. The mother had obtained legal custody following a divorce.

Helicopters scoured the area in northern Iron County, Utah in search of the missing girls, eight-year-old Dinah and four-year-old Hattie Coltharp.

(credit: CBS)

An Amber Alert led to a tip. Iron County Sheriff’s Lt. Del Schlosser credited the response to that alert.

“Had we not received that tip today, these girls probably would not have been alive in the morning,” Lt. Schlosser said.

The girls were believed to be with Samuel Shaffer, a self-described prophet who had two girls of his own. He was found along a road, alone, but he said where the girls could be found.

(credit: Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office)

“An intense search took place trying to locate the two he had kept away from the other two,” Lt. Schlosser added.

Earlier in the day, the two Coltharp boys were located during a raid on a polygamist compound along with Shaffer’s parents who were being questioned. The children’s father, John Coltharp, had already been arrested. That compound appeared to consist of shipping containers.

Grandfather Steve Soble, who lives in Highlands Ranch, worries about what the children have been through.

“There’s no doubt in my mind they have been going through complete indoctrination,” Soble said before the children had been found.

But three months after they were last heard from, they are now safe.

Shaffer was arrested on charges of kidnapping and child abuse.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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