FARGO, N.D.- Family members of an anti-Semitic cult leader who once practiced and brainwashed his grandchildren in the Ozarks fear he may be re-establishing his cult at an old high school in North Dakota recently purchased by other family members who still follow the cult.
Gordon Winrod, 85, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after kidnapping six of his grandchildren from North Dakota and brainwashing them on his farm in Ozark County. The six children would even take turns guarding the large compound with loaded guns.
Winrod sent letters to residents in the Ozarks with anti-Semitic messages such as “Jews are the Satanists, who lust to murder”, the Springfield post office received over 400 complaints at the time.
Winrod was arrested in 2000 after his farm was raided. Once he was in jail, authorities had to take him out and bring him to the farm to get the six kids to come out of the compound, because without him there, they would not leave.
He was released from jail in May 2012 after serving just over 10 years in federal prison.
According to KFGO in Fargo, N.D., Shannon Maresh is fearful that her grandfather will restart his cult at an old High School in Kulm, N.D. and brainwash others much like her brothers and sisters were in the 1990s.
“My biggest fear is that something horrific, like what happened to our family could happen to another family,” Maresh told KFGO. “I just don’t want that to happen. I want the community to be aware of what is going on. They have a history of hatred, of kidnapping children.”
According to of Maresh, the owners of the school, her aunt, and uncle are still affiliated with Winrod’s cult.
The farm in Ozark County was sold to satisfy a $26-million judgment against him filed by two of the abducted children and their fathers.
At the time, residents expected Winrod to continue his life in Arkansas.