Stuff I've Googled, what I Googled a few minutes ago, what I'm Googling now, why I'm Googling, and other fascinating information.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What "religious sect" did Reyna Marisol Chicas lead?

: Reyna Marisol Chicas

Why: Did you hear about this? This LA Times article ("Children of religious sect leader put in protective custody") is scant on juicy deets, but it does say this:
  • Chicas' 15-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter were among the eight minors in the group, whose members sparked concern after leaving behind farewell letters to loved ones before a taking off on a mysterious religious trip.
  • The group garnered nationwide interest over the weekend, after authorities launched an extensive manhunt, fearing the 13 individuals may have been following through on a suicide pact steeped in extreme Christian religious beliefs.
I was too busy watching Piranha 3D and riding the hell out of Splash Mountain to notice.

Answer: Here are some more scant deets (edited for your convenience):
What do we know about the sect?
The group, led by a 33-year-old woman named Reyna Marisol Chicas, broke off from a local Latino evangelical Christian congregation. The LA Sheriff's Office described the sect as "cult-like," based on reports from one of the women's husbands who said that group members had been "brainwashed." 
Why did the police start searching for them?
At about 2 p.m. Saturday, 2 concerned husbands showed up at the sheriff's office with a purse the women had left behind with instructions to pray over it. Inside: ID, cash, cellphones, deeds to homes and titles to cars, and letters suggesting "they were all going to heaven to meet Jesus and their deceased relatives." While the notes didn't specify suicide, some did mention the "end of the world" and "every single letter reads like a will and testament."
Who is Reyna Marisol Chicas?
Tagged as the leader of the sect, Chicas is an immigrant from El Salvador like the cult's other adult members. Current and former neighbors say the mother of 2 became increasingly religious after separating from her husband 4 years ago, but described her as a simple woman with a 5th grade education who had trouble keeping a job and often lied about small things. Pastor Felipe Vides of the church says Chicas stopped attending services 2 years ago, and was a nondescript member with no leadership position. 
What is Chicas telling police?
Not much, so far. She's been taken in for 72 hours of psychiatric evaluation, after telling police her name was Nancy and denying her identity even when confronted with documents verifying it, Whitmore says. "Her intent doesn't seem to be [to deceive]. She just seems very confused."
What do the police think the group was doing?
They're not sure. Before the women were reported missing, a deputy spotted them near a high school, purportedly praying against violence in schools and premarital sex. They may have been on a prayer tour of several local schools. (This isn't their first planned disappearance: 6 months ago, the sect had apparently strategized an excursion to the nearby Vasquez Rocks area to await the Rapture, or at least a catastrophic natural disaster, but called it off when one of the members, since kicked out, told a relative about the trip.)
So why leave worldly possessions behind?
According to sect members, they left their valuables behind them to make their prayer less sinful, since possessions bring evil. They were angry that such a big deal was made of their outing.
Source: The Week

The More You Know:Well, that's exciting, but not as exciting as Splash Mountain or Piranha 3D. Have you seen it?

It got me all jazzed for Sharktopus, which premieres THIS SATURDAY, SEPT. 25 on SyFy. Set your DVR!


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