April 8, 1997
Yesterday morning, the police visited a local cult “Tabitha’s Place” located in the Pyrenees after the death of a baby on Thursday.
The group is considered very unorthodox. The prosecutor investigated the parents over the weekend when he discovered the child was suffering from malnutrition and child endangerment.
Yesterday about 40 police officers, 12 doctors, interpreters and prosecutors surrounded the castle where the commune resides. The police verified the medical condition of 70 to 80 children in the group, which totals 200 people.
Prosecutor Jean-Pierre Dreno announced yesterday that evidence of child abuse was non existent therefore no immediate action would be taken against the commune. “The death certificate of the child indicated that the commune sanctioned bodily punishments.” “We assumed foul play was in evidence and this is why we are here today.”
The investigation of little Raphael [the dead child] is not finished yet and judge Thierry Pons will question many members of the commune.
Raphael, 19 months, only weighed 10 pounds and suffered an abnormal heart condition, for which the parents never sought medical treatment. The cult refuses any form of medical treatment. Children in a Vermont branch of the cult do not attend public schools and are not allowed to play with toys or use their imagination. The group is self-sustaining, selling fruits and vegetables at a local market.