DENVER—The mummified body of the leader of a New Age sect discovered by law enforcement last week near Crestone, Colorado, had been placed in a shrine and appeared to be missing its eyes, arrest affidavits reveal.
When investigators arrived Wednesday, the remains had “...what appears to be glitter type makeup on around the eyes,” according to Corporal Steve Hanson of the Saguache County Sheriff Office.
The documents, obtained by The Daily Beast, also describe the body—believed to be that of 45-year-old Amy Carlson, known to her followers as “Mother God”—as being adorned with Christmas tree lights. The group in question, “Love Has Won,” (LHW) has previously been described by both followers and law enforcement as a “cult.”
Sheriff’s deputies found the body in the LHW headquarters in rural Saguache county just before midnight on Wednesday. Saguache County Sheriff Dan Warwick said in an interview on Monday that the body was “cared for,” and that the eyes were missing because of decomposition.
Carlson’s son, Cole, told The Daily Beast that he had been expecting his mother’s death for quite some time.
“It’s not a great thing, but hopefully this brings an end to the Love Has Won debacle,” he said in an interview Monday. “I hope the damage stops now.”
“My problem is that the cult didn’t get her help,” Carlson’s sister, Chelsea Renninger, added, “They let her die.”
The Saguache County Sheriff’s office was responding to a tip from a man named Miguel Lamboy, a suspected member of the group, when it visited the headquarters Wednesday. According to an affidavit, Lamboy told them “...it was obvious that Ms.Carlson was dead because her eyes were missing. Mr. Lamboy stated that the body appeared to be mummified with Ms. Carlson’s teeth exposed through the lips.”
Lamboy also said he believed the mummified remains had been brought to Colorado from California.
Saguache County Coroner Tom Perrin told The Daily Beast on Monday that he had not been able to officially identify the corpse via fingerprints because it is so badly decomposed. But he added that he was working to use dental records to get an identification, and estimated that the person had been dead since sometime in March.
Perrin said in an email that he has not ruled out foul play, but “that he will not know for sure until the autopsy has been completed.”
Perrin described the scene where Carlson’s body was found as “very decorated with murals on the walls and Christmas lights all around,” adding that he suspected Carlson was ingesting colloidal silver.
Sure enough, Cole said he last spoke to his mother via Skype, and that at the time, she told him she had cancer and was eating one grilled cheese a day, but that he suspected something worse.
“I know she was taking huge amounts of colloidal silver,” Cole told The Daily Beast. He added that his mother told him they were selling the silver as a cure for coronavirus under a business known as Gaia’s Whole Healing Essentials, LLC, but that the FDA made them stop.
When they visited the Love Has Won HQ, a mobile home, late Wednesday, deputies with the Saguache County Sheriff’s office also found two children, ages 13 and 2, fast asleep. The Saguache County Sheriff’s office confirmed that the 13-year-old has been placed with social services. According to the arrest record, the two-year-old belongs to Lamboy, who could not immediately be reached for comment.
Seven members of the “cult” were taken into custody on various charges, including child abuse and abuse of a corpse. No one has been charged in connection with Carlson’s death.
When Lamboy alerted law enforcement to Carlson’s body, he told them that her name was “Lia.” But former LHW member Andrew Profaci told The Daily Beast that Carlson had at least half a dozen different names; he also suggested she may have had some kind of relationship with Lamboy.
“She used that name early on before I joined the team, but she was still using it when her and Miguel were together,” said Profaci.
“She never used the name ‘Amy.’ If you called her Amy you were dissing her. You were saying she’s not Mother God. Amy Carlson as far as she was concerned was nobody.”
Love Has Won has not publicly announced that Carlson has died, and instead have used their own language to describe her passing. On Sunday, Bobby Barbara, a LHW member, did a Facebook live proclaiming, “She has not passed away. She ascended. Her essence left her body.”
She went on to describe a horrific death “...like Lou Gehrig’s Parkinsons, where her whole body was paralyzed but her brain was fully functioning.”
After being reached on Facebook, Barbara declined to comment, saying “Does it matter? You’re not going to tell the truth anyway.” A person reached at a phone number previously listed on a now-defunct Love Has Won website suggested the group had been “dissolved” and declined to comment for this story.
Carlson’s family says they do not believe much of what LHW claims regarding her death. “To find out that she was dead for that long without finding out she was dead is concerning,” said Renninger.
The last time they heard from Carlson was in January when another sister, Tara Flores, spoke with her on the phone, she told The Daily Beast.
“She said she was in a lot of pain and that she was at peace,” Flores said. After that, the family texted with Carlson, but they said they could never be sure that the person on the other end was her.
The Love Has Won website went offline over the weekend, but their Facebook page remains active. The group has a “Daily Energy Update” in which members discuss what they refer to as “divine decrees” and now share old videos of Carlson.
On Wednesday afternoon, the jailed alleged sect members will have their first day in Saguache County court. Ryan Kramer, John Robertson, Jason Castillo, Obdulia Franco Gonzalez, Christopher Royer, and Sarah Raymone were each being held on two counts of child abuse and one count of tampering with a deceased human body.
A seventh defendant, Karin Raymond, was being held on two counts of child abuse, one count of tampering with a deceased human body, and one count of false imprisonment. At one point, Lamboy told investigators upon discovering the body, he was not allowed to leave the LHW headquarters with his son.
Sheriff Warwick said that the seven defendants have public defenders from Colorado’s 12th Judicial District assigned to them. The attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment.
For his part, Warwick said he had never had any trouble with the group before. “They’ve always been very polite,” he said. “There have been no criminal issues.”
Family members who say they have lost relatives to LHW are watching with interest, hopeful that law enforcement had intervened in a drama they could not control.
“I’m sad. Largely, she was still my mom,” said Carlson’s son Cole.
Still, he added, “It’s super weird to tell people, ‘My mom thinks she’s a God.’”