6 missing people from the St. Louis area are believed to be in the clutches of an online religious cult
Six people in Missouri who were reported missing in August are believed to have been lured into a cult he led Convicted of child molestationThe police said.
Police in the Berkeley suburb of St. Louis said the cult was led by Rashad Jammal, who is serving an 18-year prison sentence in Georgia after being convicted in August of child molestation and child cruelty.
Berkeley Police Maj. Steve Runge said NBC affiliate KSDK in St. Louis Investigators last week believed the missing six had become followers of Jamal, a former rapper turned online guru who runs what he calls the University of Universal Intelligence.
beauty website It says it is “directed toward enlightening and illuminating the minds of the invasive beings also known as the Black and Latinx people of the Earth.”
“I would like to know they’re okay so I can get a good night’s sleep,” Sheletta Gibson, whose daughter and grandson were among those missing, told KSDK. “I want to know that they’re not hungry, they’re not cold, and that no one is forcing her to do things that she has to pay for in the long run.”
Gibson’s daughter, Jeryl German, 26, and her 3-year-old grandson, Ashton Mitchell, were last seen with the four other missing people in August at the Quality Inn near St. Louis Lambert International Airport, police said.
The couple and the four others — Noman Williams, 29, Michaela Thompson, 23, Makayla Wickerson, 25, and her 3-year-old daughter, Malaya — were all living in a rented home in Berkeley before they disappeared, police said.
Wickerson’s mother, Cartisha Morgan, told KSDK she has not contacted her daughter since August. She said she believed her daughter was “suffering from postpartum depression.”
“Meeting these people online, they took advantage of her vulnerability,” Morgan said.
In a recent prison interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jamal denied being a sectarian leader, although in videos posted online that have received more than 200,000 views, he regularly called himself a god, prophet or… Christ.
Jamal, who has insisted that he is an innocent man and that the sexual harassment charges stemmed from a child custody dispute, also denied knowing the six people who disappeared from the St. Louis suburb.
“I’m sure I’ve never met these people before,” he told the newspaper. “I get on my phone and give a lecture. I go live, then I hang up. I don’t know the people in my life[stream]. “It’s a very large number of people.”
This article first appeared on NBCNews.com.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com