Three people who were arrested n*ked by Canadian police after kidnapping their neighbours and crashing their car into another vehicle were Jehovah’s Witnesses who believed that they were escaping the end of the world, according to court documents.
In a plea document obtained by the Canadian Press, two women and a man admitted to kidnapping three people in the western province of Alberta last year, which brought a degree of clarity to the bizarre incident last November. One of the women also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police launched their investigation after they were called to the scene of a car crash in an industrial park in Nisku, south of Edmonton.
They arrived to find a white BMW that had collided with a truck; inside were five people – four of them n*ked – despite the centimetres of snow on the ground and temperatures that hovered around -10C (14F).
According to the plea document, the episode had begun several days earlier, when one of the women took her her two teenage daughters to visit her 27-year old nephew and his 30-year old wife, who lived in Leduc, Alberta.
After three days at the house – during which the group barely ate – they came to believe that they had lived through the Great Tribulation, a period of suffering which some evangelical Christians believe heralds the second coming.
Believing they were in imminent danger, the group fled the house – but in their haste, none of the family – except the mother – managed to get dressed, the document says.
“Four who were naked were changing but they had to leave right away because it was unsafe, so they left without clothes,” the plea document said.
The group piled into a BMW SUV – which the mother drove through the garage door to make their escape – but then decided they needed to rescue the neighbours.
They forced a man into the trunk of their vehicle and made his adult daughter and her baby climb into the back seat. “They did so because they believed that they were in danger, either from bad or wicked people outside or from demons,” says the guilty plea.
The BMW then raced down the highway, blasting through a red light as its occupants chanted “Jehovah” over and over.
According to the document, the three neighbours managed to escape when the SUV slowed down and flagged down a passing truck.
“It’s the middle of the winter and people running around with no shoes on – you stop to help them,” Derek Scott, the truck’s driver, told CTV News last year.
The neighbours climbed aboard the truck – but their relief was short-lived: the SUV rammed Scott’s truck, and both vehicles ended up in a snow-filled ditch.
When police responded to the accident, they faced a group who “displayed extreme strength” and refused to leave the vehicle. According to the court document, one of the teens believe the officers were “were monsters who would kill them”.
Police eventually resorted to using a combination of pepper spay and tasers to subdue and arrest the passengers.
At the time, police suspected drugs or alcohol might have been a factor in the incident. The father of the two teens – who wasn’t present during the incident – told investigators that he fears the group might have consumed a hallucinogenic tea.
But according to the Canadian Press, the plea document makes no mention of drugs or alcohol.
The two teenagers who were present during the abduction were not charged