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Everyone that works in 24-hour cable news got really excited temporarily when the Los Angeles Times reported that a “cult-like” group could not be found, but left behind letters that “essentially state that they [the missing persons] are all going to heaven shortly to meet Jesus and their deceased relatives.” The group, consisting of five members and eight children, was found alive on Sunday, CNN reports. This is a relief because innocent people are safe, but it also spares the living a week’s worth of faux-sympathetic media sensationalism.
CNN has more on the scare:
The search began Saturday afternoon, when the husbands of two women in the group reported them missing, the Sheriff’s Department said. One of the men said their wives were part of a “cult-like group” and had been “brainwashed” by its leader, and Whitmore said the wife left a purse with her husband and asked her “to pray over” it.
When the husband opened the purse, he found money, mobile phones and notes that “talked about meeting Jesus, talked about deceased relatives soon to meet up,” Whitmore told CNN earlier Sunday. That raised concerns that the group members planned to take their own lives, he said.
And the L.A. Times has the most in-depth account of the missing members. Local news reports that the group was found at Jackie Robinson Park in Palmdale, California. More on this to come if it develops in an interesting way!