DENVER ― Seven members of a cult-like group known as Love Has Won have been arrested on charges of abusing a corpse and child abuse after mummified remains believed to be their leader’s were found in a home in rural southern Colorado.
Saguache County sheriff’s deputies found the decomposed body of a female they suspected was that of group leader Amy Carlson in the back room of a residence in Moffat, Colorado, last Wednesday.
The remains were wrapped in “what appears to be” a sleeping bag and decorated with Christmas tree lights in what resembled “some type of shrine” visible from other parts of the house, a sheriff’s corporal said in an arrest warrant affidavit. Glitter makeup had been applied around the corpse’s eyes, which were described by a witness as “glazed over or missing.”
Deputies also found a 13-year-old girl and 2-year-old boy in the house. Both appeared to be in good health, according to the affidavit.
“The Saguache County Sheriff’s Office has received many complaints from families within the United States saying that the group is brainwashing people and stealing their money,” the sheriff’s corporal wrote in the document. “Ms. Carlson is believed to be the leader of ‘Love has Won’ and goes by the name ‘Mother God.’”
The death was reported to authorities by a follower of Love Has Won named Miguel Lamboy. He told police in nearby Salida, Colorado, that other members of the group brought the corpse into his residence after they said they needed a place to stay. Lamboy allowed them in and left to run errands, discovering the mummified remains in the back bedroom when he returned later that day.
Those arrested ranged in age from 32 to 52. They were held in Rio Grande County jail on charges of abuse of a corpse and two counts of child abuse.
In 2020, Love Has Won attempted to relocate to the Hawaiian island of Kauai before residents rebuffed them. Here’s how an investigation by the Honolulu Civil Beat summarized the group’s difficult-to-follow beliefs at the time:
The cult describes itself as having roots in beliefs in Lemuria, a mythical lost continent whose contemporary followers believe Lemurian descendants may still reside within Mt. Shasta.
In a transcript of one of [Love Has Won’s] YouTube videos, a woman who identified herself as Lauren Suarez says that Carlson “was queen of Lemuria and Donald Trump was mom’s father in Lemuria.”
Rick Alan Ross, CEO of Cult Education Institute and the author of “Cults Inside Out,” spoke with Carlson on the Dr. Phil show in September.
“In my opinion ‘Love Has Won’ is a destructive cult,” Ross told HuffPost in an email. “The group is essentially predicated upon the belief that Amy Carlson is God and like other personality cults is entirely defined by her claims as the leader. Carlson was the driving force and defining element of the group.”
Ross described Carlson as “extremely authoritarian and controlling” and said the group has a history of abusing members, including children.
“My hope is that they will recover and move on with their lives,” Ross said of Carlson’s followers. “And part of that process will be for them to gain an understanding of how cults manipulate people and how Carlson specifically manipulated them.”
Ross offered some advice for family members who may want to contact loved ones involved with the group. Without Carlson, he said, the group “will most likely begin to fall apart.”
“At this juncture, it’s very important to let loved ones know that you remain committed as family, are there for them and fully supportive,” Ross continued. “Don’t argue with “Love Has Won” followers or in any way shame them. They need to know that are still unconditionally loved by their family and can come home again. … Be forgiving, loving and do everything possible to maintain ongoing communication.”
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