What the circle of the sheriff’s flashlight revealed nestled in the blankets of a bed twinkling with Christmas tree lights gave deputies the willies. “There’s something back in there. I don’t know what the (expletive) it is!” said an officer.
What it was, was the mummified remains of a cult leader wrapped in an REI sleeping bag, her eyelids plastered with white glitter, surrounded by rainbow murals and stuffed animals. Sheriffs body cam of the grisly discovery was released to The Gazette by the Saguache County Sheriff Department Friday.
Coroner Tom Perrin determined that “Mother God,” aka Amy Carlson, had been dead for weeks, so decomposed there were no fingerprints. The autopsy, which is being done by an El Paso County lab, is not finished. Carlson's family had a memorial service in Texas for the woman they knew as a mother, daughter and sister who loved life but left her only son when he was ten years old.
Through interviews with LHW members, investigators learned that Carlson, 45, was the leader of a cult called Love Has Won and that she had been driven to the group’s Colorado headquarters from California in the trunk of a Nissan Rogue. Family members told The Gazette that Carlson had cancer and that she had been taking coloidal silver to cure. Perrin noted to The Gazette that the mineral may be what turned Carlson's skin a blue color.
She's at Rest
Followers of LHW, who opened the door to Saguache County deputies late last April, told them that Mother was “at rest.” “I’ve seen mummified bodies before. That’s not unusual,” Saguache County Sheriff Ben Warwick told The Gazette. “It was the way they kept the body that was unusual. It was a shrine. It was a worshipping thing from what I could see.”
Warwick’s bizarre experience with LHW began when people started asking the Saguache County Sheriffs to check in on family members they say had been indoctrinated into the group. Then last spring, deputies answered a 911 call from an LHW member asking them to help him retrieve his two year old son from the cult’s headquarters in Moffat, just outside of Crestone in Southwest Colorado.
Raw body cam footage from April 29, 2021, just past midnight, shows a conversation between law enforcement and an LHW member who identifies as Jason. When Jason is asked as to the whereabouts of “Mother” and the toddler, they’re told “Mother is resting. She’s at rest. The child’s sleeping.”
The man named Jason may be Jason Castillo, aka Father God, who along with six other cult members, was arrested on suspicion of child abuse, and with the interstate transport and abuse of Amy Carlson’s corpse. The two year old was immediately put in custody with child services and eventually reunited with his father. Deputies also found a 13 year old in the house that night who was placed with family.
Since then, the cases against all seven LHW members were dismissed by Alamosa County District Attorney Alonzo Payne. Payne did not return calls from The Gazette for comment as to why charges were dropped.
Warwick is unhappy with the DA's decision, because he said his office spent hundreds of hours investigating the group,“It’s disgusting. We served multiple search warrants and spent a lot of time on the case. It’s the prosecution’s choice. It’s not up to us and they never even talked to us about it.” Warwick believes the cult has left the area because the home where Carlson’s body was found was empty as of last week, but he said he’s heard rumors they’ve split and are still in Colorado.
The NBC magazine show “Dateline” will air a two-hour program on the case Friday night.