MANTI — A Sanpete County man who, along with the alleged leader of a doomsday sect, was charged last month with kidnapping now faces allegations of abusing a child.
John Alvin Coltharp, 34, of Spring City, was charged Monday in 6th District Court with sodomy, a first-degree felony. Coltharp is already charged with child kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and obstructing justice by concealing a person, a class A misdemeanor.
Coltharp was originally charged along with Samuel Warren Shaffer, 34, of Cedar City, who faces two counts of child kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and four counts of intentional child abuse causing injury, a second-degree felony.
In the fall, police say Coltharp loaded a U-Haul in the middle of the night and vacated his Spring City house, taking his two sons and two daughters between the ages of 8 and 4, and the children's grandparents to live in a makeshift compound constructed out of Conex storage containers in a remote area of northern Iron County approximately a mile west of Lund. A total of six children and four adults were living in the containers, which totaled approximately 800 square feet, according to police.
Coltharp left his home purportedly to join Shaffer, the sect leader of a church described in court documents as "an LDS offshoot that believed in fundamental doctrines."Comment on this story
According to court records, Coltharp's ex-wife told authorities that "(Coltharp) belongs to a religious group called the Knights of the Crystal Blade and is likely living in the Cedar City area with the sect's prophet, Samuel Warren Shaffer." She called Coltharp a "doomsday prepper who believes that the world will soon come to an end."
When authorities found the compound in December and arrested Shaffer, Coltharp's two girls were found hidden in a plastic 50-gallon water barrel that Shaffer had allegedly made them stay in for at least 24 hours, according to charging documents.
Shaffer's own two children were found in an abandoned mobile home "in deplorable living conditions" and were in "poor health, with signs of dehydration and acting lethargic," according to court records.