4 adults, 2 children missing after joining spiritual cult run by convicted sex offender and rapper: police

Francis Akhalbey January 15, 2024
The missing individuals are followers of a spiritual cult being run by a convicted sex offender indentified as Rashad Jamal (left) -- Photos via Daily Mail

Authorities in St. Louis on January 9 said four adults and two children who “vanished” from a home in the city in August were followers of a spiritual cult being run by a self-proclaimed prophet and rapper.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the cult leader, identified as Rashad Jamal, is also a convicted sex offender. The individuals reported missing were identified as 25-year-old Mikayla Thompson, 36-year-old Ma’Kayla Wickerson, and Malaiyah Wickerson, 3. Thompson and Wickerson are cousins and St. Louis residents while little Malaiyah is Wickerson’s daughter.

The others, who don’t reside in St. Louis, were identified as 30-year-old Naaman Williams, Gerrielle German,27, and her 3-year-old child Ashton Mitchell. Authorities said the six individuals went missing around the same period.

Berkeley police said the nationwide spiritual cult being run by Jamal had amassed tens of thousands of followers on social media. Police said the cult targets Black and Latino people, and they usually practice polygamy and spread anti-government conspiracy theories. The cult also urges its followers to go under the radar and establish a “total disconnection” from family and friends,  the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“It is extremely troubling to the family members of all of the missing people,” said Berkeley Maj. Steve Runge. “The level of disconnect these cult members have demonstrated with friends and family members is unfathomable.”

Authorities said the last time the missing individuals were seen was on August 13. Their sighting at a Quality Inn in Florissant came a day before Jamal’s Georgia trial on child molestation and first-degree child cruelty charges. He was ultimately sentenced to 18 years in prison and 22 years of probation after being found guilty.

Authorities also said the missing individuals were all staying in a rental home on Graham Lane before they disappeared. Many neighbors said the group was popular in the area as they told police the followers sometimes lay naked outside the residence. The activities they performed included meditation, hugging trees, burying pennies, and martial arts.

Police ultimately launched an investigation into the missing individuals, but the group left the home before police went there to perform a search on August 14. “We went in there thinking we were going into a crime scene,” Runge told the news outlet. “But there was no evidence of any struggle.”

Runge said the group did not take their valuables and also left other items in the home. “It was like they left to go to the store and were coming right back,” he said. “There was no reason to believe they were abandoning their home.”

Runge also said he thinks “there has to be an encampment somewhere where these people have gone.” “They have to turn up somewhere. This cannot be the only case of missing people in this country tied to this cult,” he added.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 15, 2024


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