The missing people with ties to online cult ‘don’t want to be found,’ police say

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The four people missing from a St. Louis suburb, who are believed to have ties to an online cult led by a convicted child molester, have gone completely off the grid with two young children in tow, the Missouri police officer leading the investigation said Wednesday.

“They’ve shut off their phones, shut off their social media, shut off everything,” Berkeley Police Maj. Steve Runge told NBC News. “We’ve even sent them money via a cash app and they haven’t collected it. They’re just gone.”

In a telephone interview, he said, “it’s like they don’t want to be found.”

The six were last seen at a Quality Inn in Florissant, about 18 miles north of downtown St. Louis, Runge said. They stayed there from Aug. 2 to Aug. 6 of last year, he said.

Before that, the group was renting a home in nearby Berkeley.

There have been reports that they were evicted from that home, but, Runge said, “I don’t know that to be the case.”

What is clear, he said, is that the adults appear to have ties to the cult led by Rashad Jamal, who is serving an 18-year prison sentence in Georgia after he was convicted in August of one count of child molestation and one count of cruelty to children.

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