Authorities don't know where Love Has Won leader died. Could it have been in Siskiyou?
The decomposing body of the leader of a nonprofit spiritual group who had been living in the Mt. Shasta area was found in Colorado last week.
The corpse – thought to be that of 45-year-old Amy Carlson, who was known as “Mother God” to followers of the Love Has Won group – was found near Crestone, Colorado on April 29 and seven people were arrested on charges related to tampering with her remains, said Saguache County Sheriff’s Captain Ken Wilson.
Wilson said the corpse has not been officially identified as Carlson, although authorities believe it is. He confirmed Carlson died "elsewhere" and her body was taken to Colorado. It is unclear whether Carlson might have died in Siskiyou County, or just south of the border in Shasta County while she and her followers were staying at a rented cabin at Soda Springs.
“We do not have that answer,” said Wilson when asked where Carlson died. “We know it was not here (in Crestone).”
As of Monday, neither the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office or the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office had been contacted as part of the investigation..
The corpse was in “mummified condition,” covered in blankets with Christmas lights placed on it, said Wilson.
“The mummified remains appeared to be set up in some type of shrine” and “have what appears to be glitter type makeup on around the eyes,” according to the affidavits, the Associated Press reported. Investigators searched an SUV on the property and said the back seat was laid down in a position “consistent with someone transporting the mummified remains.”
Wilson said it is “impossible” to guess the time of death because of the body’s condition, but Carlson could have been dead for weeks or more. An autopsy was conducted but results have not been released.
Love Has Won followers had been referring to Carlson’s declining health in their many messages and livestreams for the past months. Last week, they shared this message: “We are here to share with you that Mother of All Creation has Ascended. Mother of All Creation fulfilled Her Mission, which was to find Father of All Creation, Her Children and wake us up.”
The group’s website, lovehaswon.org, was removed as of Monday morning, although messages continue to be uploaded to Love Has Won’s Facebook page, including one on Tuesday titled “Energy Daily Update 5.4.21 Get Ready Hold Steady.”
Seven arrested after discovery of Amy Carlson's body
Among the seven people arrested in Colorado was Jason Castillo, known by Love Has Won followers as “Father God.”
All seven are accused of child abuse because there were two children in the home where the body was found, said Wilson.
Additionally, he confirmed:
- Castillo, Ryan Kramer, John Robertson and Ma Franco Gonzalez also are accused of tampering with a dead person's remains and are being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
- Two others, Christopher Royer and Sarah Rudolph, are accused of abuse of a corpse, with bail set at $2,000. Karin Raymond also is accused of abuse of a corpse and false imprisonment, with bail set at $5,000.
Carlson garnered national attention after appearing on Dr. Phil last year with her followers. They defended their belief that Carlson had been reincarnated hundreds of times and was in contact with Robin Williams since his 2014 death, among other unusual beliefs.
Before Carlson was found dead, "cult deprogrammer" Rick Ross, who has testified as an expert on cults in 10 states and is the author of the book “Cults Inside Out: How People Get in and Can Get Out,” said the group is most likely not a threat to residents of Siskiyou County, but that they could be dangerous to one another.
Ross categorized Love Has Won as a cult based on three basic requirements: having a supreme leader; the supreme leader having total influence over their followers; and using that influence to exploit their followers.
Carlson and Castillo were tracked to the Dunsmuir area after leaving Hawaii in September of 2020, according to reports from Mauinow.com and The Garden Island, at the urgings of protesters who picketed outside the condo the group had been renting on Kauai.
Wilson said the Love Has Won group has been on his department’s radar for years.
According to the affidavits, the sheriff’s office has received “many complaints” from families across the country saying “Love Has Won” is brainwashing people and stealing their money, AP reported.
Love Has Won, which established itself in southern Colorado in 2018, offers “spiritual intuitive ascension sessions” and sells spiritual healing products online.
“Everything about this cult is strange, but I guess it’s no more strange than other cults,” Wilson said.
Skye Kinkade is the editor of the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers and the Siskiyou Daily News. She is a fourth generation Siskiyou County resident and has lived in Mount Shasta and Weed her entire life.