2 men charged with child bigamy in Sanpete County

Samuel Shaffer (left) and John A. Coltharp. Photos: Iron County and Sanpete County
SANPETE COUNTY, Utah, Feb. 1, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Two 34-year-old men have been charged with child bigamy after officials say they married each other’s daughters, who were ages 7 and 8.

The men both follow a faith called The Knights of the Crystal Blade, which has been widely described as a doomsday cult.

The suspects, John Alvin Coltharp and Samuel Shaffer, each face additional charges, including kidnapping, after their arrests following an Amber Alert in December.

Shaffer, believed to be the cult’s leader, faces charges including:

  • Two counts of sodomy on a child, a first-degree felony
  • Obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony
  • Child bigamy, a Class-A misdemeanor
  • Lewdness involving a child, a Class-A misdemeanor

Coltharp, who allegedly took his four children from his estranged wife and left town, triggering the alert, faces charges including:

  • Kidnapping, a first-degree felony
  • Sodomy, a first-degree felony
  • Child bigamy, a second-degree felony

Coltharp was arrested in December at his home by Spring City, and initially was charged with custodial interference. His children were not with him.

Both men’s daughters were found in Iron County at or near the cult’s compound in Lund. Two girls were found in a trailer and two others were found in empty 50-gallon water drums.


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