DNA testing on the victims of the Mount Carmel fire show that at least 13 of the children who died were fathered by late cult leader David Koresh, a McLennan County official reported Friday.
A former Branch Davidian called the test results “vindication.”
“I guess this is the proof, isn’t it?” asked Marc Breault, in a phone interview from Melbourne, Australia. “That’s my reaction. The Davidians have more or less been covering it up, calling us liars. But here is hard evidence saying it’s the other way around. I’m glad for the findings, for our own vindication. It’s just too bad that they had to do it over charred remains.”
Breault and other former Branch Davidians as early as 1990 publicly accused Koresh of fathering children by women in the cult other than his legal wife, Rachel.
Justice of the Peace David Pareya of West said Friday that testing by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology revealed that 13 of the children who died April 19, 1993, had DNA “consistent with being children of Koresh.”
The children were Cyrus, 8, Star, 6, and Bobbie Lane Howell, 2, whose mother was Rachel Howell; Chanel Andrade, 14 months, whose mother was Katherine Andrade; Dayland, 3, and Page Gent, infant, whose mother was Nicole Gent; Mayanah Schneider, 2, whose mother was Judy Schneider; Hollywood Sylvia, 2, whose mother was Lorraine Sylvia; and Serenity Sea, 4, and Chica and Latwan Jones, 22 months, whose mother was Michele Jones.
In addition, Nicole Gent and Aisha Gyarfas were both pregnant when they died. DNA testing established Koresh as the father of the fetuses, Pareya said.
Breault and other former Branch Davidians told the Tribune-Herald in its series “The Sinful Messiah” that Koresh persuaded the cult’s women that they should bear his children to further the House of David — creating offspring whom he prophesied would one day rule the earth with him.
Koresh initially denied the accusation. But after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided Mount Carmel on Feb. 28, 1993, Koresh admitted in phone interviews with the media that he had fathered children by women other than his legal wife.
After the fire destroyed Mount Carmel, though, some surviving Branch Davidians, such as Rita Riddle, claimed Koresh fathered only his three legal children.
Pareya said Friday that McLennan County faces a Sept. 30 deadline to remove the bodies of the remaining 31 Mount Carmel fire victims from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office. The original deadline had been July 15 before an extension was granted.
After that, Pareya and justices of the peace Cindy Evans and James Collier still plan to hold an inquest into how the Branch Davidians died.
“It’s our job,” Pareya said. “The law requires it. Personally, I feel obligated. There are families who want to know how their people died. And none of us want anyone to say we didn’t do our job.”