HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – The suspected cult leader who has been accused of kidnapping two young sisters and their two young brothers has been charged with kidnapping and child abuse.
The girls, 4-year-old Hatti and 8-year-old Dina, were found alone in a building outside the town of Lund on Monday night.
Their grandfather Steve Sobel said the girls were found in 50 gallon water barrels without any food, water or proper clothing for the cold temperatures.
A local reporter tweeted that the girls were “safe but very cold.”
Sheriff’s Department in Iron County Utah said it was doubtful the children would have survived the night.
The suspect, Samuel Shaffer, was taken into custody. Their father, John Coltharp, was already in custody.
The girls were transferred to a local hospital for medical evaluations. It wasn’t clear how soon the girls would be able to see their mother.
Their mother, Micha Coltharp, said the two girls and their two brothers disappeared on Sept. 13. They were believed to have been taken by their father, John Coltharp.
Micha Coltharp had legal custody of the children after a recent divorce.
The family feared that John Coltharp had given the children to Shaffer.
Shaffer is a self-proclaimed “prophet.” The family says he and Coltharp were involved in cult-like activities.
Micha Coltharp said the two boys were found during a raid of a suspected polygamist compound in Iron County, Utah.
The boys were with their father’s parents. An Amber Alert was issued for the two girls but was canceled Monday night.
A tip was supplied that led to the raid.
Micha Coltharp grew up in Highlands Ranch, attending Mountain Vista High School.