11 Mar 2011

Children removed from Black Hebrew polygamy cult, missing boy allegedly murdered by sect leader

The Gazette - Colorado Springs March 3, 2011

5-year-old shot by polygamist sect leader, search warrant says

Informant says 2 killed in N.C. home


A 5-year-old boy whose mother belonged to a polygamist sect that relocated briefly to Teller County was killed by the mother’s boyfriend last year in Durham, N.C., an informant told Durham police.

The informant also told Durham police that the boy’s mother, former Colorado Springs resident Vania Sisk, 25, shot and killed another member of the sect during an attempted escape a few weeks ago, according to a Teller County Sheriff’s Office search warrant issued Feb. 25.

The Teller County Sheriff’s Office was asked by North Carolina authorities to help find Sisk and her son, Jadon Higganbothan. Sheriff’s deputies visited a rented home at 205 E. Ridge Drive near Woodland Park several times last week.

On Feb. 23, Teller County social services took 10 children living in the home into protective custody at the request of North Carolina authorities. Nine adults also were living in the home, but Sisk and her son were not at the home when deputies visited.

Deputies found Sisk that day at the Woodland Park Wal-Mart, where she had used a debit card.

Her son, however, apparently never made the trip to Colorado when the sect fled North Carolina after police began investigating “suspicious activity” in mid-February at the crowded Durham home shared by members of a church known as Black Hebrews, the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer reported.

Sisk had lived in the house for the past 2-1/2 years with her polygamist boyfriend Pete Moses and multiple other women and children, Sisk’s aunt told the News & Observer.

Sisk told Durham police that she left Jadon, who was born in Colorado Springs in 2006 and whose father lives in Georgia, with an acquaintance in North Carolina on Feb. 20 and has not seen him since, the newspaper reported.

The Teller County search warrant described Jadon’s chilling death at Moses’ hands:

The informant told Durham police that an “extremely angry” Moses took the young boy downstairs while holding a gun. The informant said she heard loud music, then a gunshot.
Moses then wrapped the boy’s body in a plastic bag, packed him in a suitcase and stored him in the attic. Moses removed the body from the house when it began to smell.

Peter Lucas Moses Jr., 27, is free on $1,500 bond after being arrested Feb. 18 on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon, firing a gun within city limits and penning a fraudulent check, the News & Observer reported.

It was not immediately known if a warrant has been issued for his arrest in connection with Jadon’s death.

The informant also told Durham police that a woman, Antoinetta McKoy, was shot by Sisk about three weeks ago, according to the search warrant.

McKoy got into an argument with Moses over lost car keys and ran from the sect’s house, the search warrant states. She attempted to flag down a vehicle to get away, but was forced back into the house by two female member of the group, who beat her unconscious, according to the warrant.

Sisk killed McKoy with a 9 mm handgun after being ordered to shoot her by Moses, the informant told Durham police.

Teller County sheriff’s deputies learned of the informant’s statements on Feb. 25 — two days after they spoke to Sisk at the Wal-Mart.

When detectives met Sisk, she said that her three children were at the house near Woodland Park. When detectives visited the house, however, they did not find Jadon, the warrant said.

The group, including Sisk and Moses, reportedly left the area Sunday after renting a U-Haul trailer in Colorado Springs, Teller County investigators said.
Raleigh News & Observer staff writer Jesse James DeConto contributed to this report.

This article was found at:

WRAL-TV  -  North Carolina     March 4, 2011

Warrants: Police told missing Durham boy slain

by Erin Hartness

DURHAM, N.C. — A 5-year-old Durham boy last seen in October might have been killed by a religious sect, according to search warrants from Colorado that WRAL News obtained Thursday.

Durham police said Thursday that they still consider Jadon Higganbothan missing, and they said they also are looking for a missing woman who lived with Jadon and his mother, Vania Rae Sisk.

Colorado authorities said they became involved in the case last week when Durham police called to ask them about the whereabouts of Jadon and Sisk, who recently moved from Durham to the Colorado Springs area.

Authorities went to a Woodland Park, Colo., home on Feb. 23 to ask Sisk about the missing boy, but neither she nor her son was there. Ten other children were taken from the home and placed in the custody of the Teller County, Colo., Department of Social Services.

The search warrants from the Teller County Sheriff's Office state that Sisk moved from Durham with a group of followers of the Black Hebrews, a religious sect that believes it descends directly from the ancient tribes of Israel.

According to the warrants, a confidential Durham police informant who is a former member of the Black Hebrews told investigators that Jadon was shot by a member of the group in October, wrapped in plastic and stuffed into a suitcase. The suitcase was disposed of a few days later, the warrants state.

"There's nothing a 5-year-old could do to deserve to die," said Jadon's father, Jamiel Higganbothan.

Higganbothan and Sisk divorced a few years ago, and he has had trouble keeping in touch with Jadon since then. He said he has lost hope that his son is alive and only wants closure.

Sisk returned to Durham on Wednesday from Colorado and told local investigators that she had left Jadon with an acquaintance on Feb. 20, police said.

Sisk, however, told police two different accounts. First, she said she left Jadon with a woman named Charlene Keith on Danube Lane, police said, but she later said she left him with a woman named Alicia Sanders or Sanderson who lives somewhere on North Roxboro Road.

Keith said Friday that she hasn't been contacted by police in the case.

She told investigators she hasn't been able to locate the boy since leaving him with the woman. He was last seen wearing a yellow T-shirt, a blue coat and jeans and was leaving in a burgundy Pontiac Grand Am, she said.

Sisk's stepmother has asked private investigator Bobby Brown, who regularly appears on the cable television show "Dog the Bounty Hunter," to help find Jadon.

Brown said the woman, who lives in Colorado, was concerned by a reference Sisk made about the world ending in 2012. Sisk also would put her stepmother off whenever the woman asked about Jadon, Brown said.

"Her only answer was very lackadaisical, that (Jadon) is fine and someday soon everybody will know that he’s fine," Brown said in a phone interview. "She is just beside herself that her stepdaughter will absolutely not say where this little boy is.”

Sisk's stepmother also told Brown that the group Sisk lives with believes one man with them is holy.

"I believe, in Vania's words, that some of them call him a prophet. Some of them call him the apostle. Some of them call him the anointed one," Brown said.

Woman missing from Durham home

Durham police have searched a home at 2109 Pear Tree Lane several times in recent days for evidence in the case. Technicians removed a box and a bag of items from the house Tuesday.

Police said Thursday that they also were searching for a woman who lived at the house with Sisk and Jadon.

Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy was last seen in December, police said. Her family in Washington, D.C., reported her missing on Feb. 1.

According to the Colorado search warrants, the confidential informant told Durham police that McKoy got into an argument with another member of the Black Hebrews in December, and she was beaten up and shot to death by members of the group. They later disposed of her body, the warrants state.

Investigators went to the home several times in February to ask about McKoy, police said, and on Feb. 18, they found Peter Lucas Moses Jr., 27, hiding in a cabinet inside.

Moses is a member of the Black Hebrews group who moved from Durham to Colorado with Sisk, according to the search warrants.

Moses was arrested on outstanding warrants charging him with carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm in the city and writing a worthless check. He was released after posting a $1,500 bond.

McKoy is described as a black woman, 5 feet 4 inches tall and about 160 pounds. She was last seen wearing a black hat, black coat, jeans and black shoes.

Anyone with information on Jadon's or McKoy's whereabouts is asked to call the Durham Police Department at 919-560-4440, extension 29335, or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.

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ABC News  -  March 8, 2011

Informant: Polygamous Cult Leader Shot and Killed Jadon Higganbothan, Boy Missing Since October

Ex Black Hebrews Member Tells Police That Leader Killed Boy, Ordered Woman's Murder


A six-year-old North Carolina boy, Jadon Higganbothan, has been missing since October -- and is now feared dead after an informant told police that the leader of a polygamous cult shot the boy in a fit of rage.

The boy's mother, Vania Sisk, also may have shot and killed a woman, Antoinetta McKoy, who hasn't been heard from since December, according to a search warrant.

Sisk is part of a group called the "Black Hebrews," according to police. Jadon lived with her and at least eight other adults in a house in Durham, N.C. At least nine other children lived with the group, which was led by Peter Moses.

Neither Moses or Sisk has been charged with any crime related to the disappearance of Jadon or McKoy.

An ex-member of the group alleges that Moses, 27, grew angry with the Jadon in October of last year.

Moses "had grabbed a gun and began pacing angrily around the house," according to a search warrant.

Moses then called for the boy to come to the basement of the house. That was the last time the informant saw the boy alive.

The informant told police that he "heard loud music and the sound of a gunshot," according to the warrant.

Moses allegedly wrapped Jadon's body in plastic and placed it in a suitcase, the informant told police. The suitcase was then put in the attic, according to the warrant.

Several days later, "The body began to stink and Peter Moses was asked to remove the body, which he did," said the warrant.

Sisk told Durham police that she last saw her son Feb. 20 when she gave him to an acquaintance. She has given police two different names for that acquaintance, police said.

The ex-Black Hebrews member, who police have not identified, also said Sisk killed a woman attempting to flee the group. Antoinetta McKoy ran out of the Durham home and flagged down a woman driving by a few weeks ago, according to the warrant.

After McKoy got into the woman's car, two members of the group walked to the car and told the driver that McKoy was okay, the warrant said. They escorted McKoy back to the Durham home.

"Once inside the residence, the two females began to beat Antoinetta unconscious," the warrant reads.

Moses handed Sisk a gun and later told her to shoot McKoy, according to the warrant.

Moses then helped the Sisk and another woman remove the body, according to the warrant.

McKoy, 28, knew Moses from high school and had reconnected with him on Facebook a year ago, McKoy's sister told ABC Affiliate WTVD.

McKoy was scared of Moses and the "Black Hebrews" group, her sister said.

"She was like, 'You don't understand about how it works, they kill people' and that he was known for carrying guns and that everyone down there who was affiliated with him was afraid of him," Dubose said.

Dubose last saw her sister in December when she and Moses had come to Washington, D.C. to pick up some belongings.

"She had gave us a hug and said that she loved us and that she would be calling us soon because she's coming back," Janayia Dubose told WTVD. "We're still concerned about whether she's alive or dead and this is not like my sister, so it's like really devastating to my family."

Dubose said that her sister's relationship with Moses turned violent last August.

"She's saying that he smacked her in the mouth with the gun and he shot at her three times," Dubose told WTVD.

Moses and his followers moved for a short time to Colorado last month after Durham police began inquiring about McKoy. Durham Police enlisted the help of the Teller County Police in Colorado to keep track of the group when they left North Carolina.

Teller County Police discovered nine children and nine adults living at a home in Colorado. The children were removed from the group and placed with social services. Sisk is believed to be the mother of three of those children. At least five of the children share the same father, police said.

Sisk, who police at one point thought was also missing along with her son, was found and questioned at a Wal-Mart in Woodland Park, Colorado on Feb. 23.

She told police that three of her children were living with her at the home with Moses and seven other adults. She did not mention Jadon.

When police said that all of the children living with the group were going to be removed from the home, one of the followers lashed out at Sisk, saying, "We are losing all of our kids cause you don't know where one of yours is," according to the warrant.

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