Wednesday’s developments:

  • U.S. Magistrate Dennis Green orders 19-year-old Oliver Gyarfas, who left the Mount Carmel compound on Friday, held without bond as a material witness. Kathy Schroeder, a fellow cult member, also remains in McLennan County Jail.
  • A federal agent says as many as 30 members of the Branch Davidians may be interested in leaving the compound, depending on the treatment of those already out.
  • An agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms who was wounded in the Feb. 28 raid on the Mount Carmel compound sues the Tribune-Herald, alleging an employee of the paper tipped off the cult to the then-impending raid. Editor Bob Lott categorically denies the charge.

Fund for Families

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Retired agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have set up a fund for the families of four ATF agents killed in the Feb. 28 shootout with members of a religious cult near Waco.

The ATF Retirees Association is raising money to provide continuing benefits for the families, said John Rice, executive director of the group and a resident of St. Simons Island, Ga. He announced the fund Tuesday at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick, where ATF agents are trained.

The slain agents’ families will receive lump-sum payments from the government, but they are not eligible for retirement benefits because none of the agents had the minimum 10 years service, Rice said.

The group is accepting contributions at its headquarters, 405 Bonaventure Rd., St. Simons Island, Ga., 31522.

In-law sympathetic

The mother-in-law of cult leader Vernon Howell said Wednesday she is not surprised he has refused to end a standoff.

“I believe if he comes out, they’d probably do bad things to him and persecute him and no telling what,” said Mary Jones, a former member of the Branch Davidian sect whose daughter Rachel married Howell.

Jones’ husband, Perry Jones, reportedly died in the Feb. 28 raid. She has a second daughter and a son inside the compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part 2 appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.

Federal officials left the compound site in late May 1993. As identifications of bodies continued, questions about the survivors, the compound and the cult itself began to emerge.

As the world began to take a critical look back at the events and legal proceedings continue, the ATF's bombshell report forces a shakeup at the top after the raid gone "tragically wrong."

In 1994, the surviving Davidians went on trial in San Antonio. Over six weeks, more than 140 witnesses testified, with the verdict coming just two days prior to the anniversary of the ATF raid.

The Rodenville shootout and the 1988 trial, the end of the world in 1959 and more stories from deep in the Trib archives.