Amber Alert canceled after sisters found safe


The unincorporated piece of Iron County boasts an official population of one.

Law enforcement searched the area for the children from the ground and the air with no luck. Authorities were searching for four children they said were taken from their mother by their father, John Alvin Coltharp, after a custody battle.

Iron County officials said Shaffer had hidden one of his daughters and the 4-year-old missing girl in blue plastic 50-gallon water barrels about a half-mile south of the property. That wasn't enough information, though, for deputies to find the children. Another pair were discovered in an abandoned trailer.

John Coltharp, 33, disappeared with his two daughters and two sons in mid-September after meeting Samuel Shaffer, 34, who also had two daughters, police said. (Coltharp's sons were rescued earlier in the day). These two children were not properly dressed for the cold temperatures and did not have food or water at that time.

The other two girls were found in a mobile home with signs of dehydration.

This week, Shaffer's brother, Benjamin Shaffer, said he was no threat and was likely just watching his friend's kids.

The Denver Post reported this week that Coltharp was originally from Highlands Ranch, Colo., outside of Denver.

Micha Coltharp had legal custody of the children after a recent divorce.

"The youngest child: Samantha Shaffer has since been flown by Life Flight helicopter to Primary Children's Hospital due to her condition".

It's believed Coltharp was prepared to marry off his daughters into polygamy.

Coltharp's own sister Heather Coltharp Lee wrote a Facebook post on Monday that read, "I hope my brother rots in jail, which pains me so much to say because he is my little brother, and I love him". The couple split in May.

The disappearance touched off a desperate search by Coltharp's ex-wife that culminated in an Amber Alert for the two girls and the arrests of both men on suspicion of kidnapping and other charges. Records do not list an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

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The four Coltharp children had been missing since September. His wife says she is anxious for the girls' safety. An attorney for Coltharp's ex-wife says Coltharp previously stated he "would rather see the kids dead than with the police".

Coltharp's sister also told the paper the family was anxious Coltharp might have been preparing to marry off his young daughters, noting in the past he had said "girls are meant to get married at the age of 12 - their bodies are ready".

According to the latest news release, on Friday, Dec. 1, the Iron County Sheriff's Office received court documents from Micha Coltharp regarding her four biological children. "His name is Samuel Warren Shaffer and he believes he holds the keys of this dispensation and he has been many people throughout the history of time and that he has been reincarnated".

It is believed Schaffer and John are members of a new church in the Iron County area.

He told police two girls had been placed in the water barrels to hide them from police. "It wasn't the safest conditions, by any means, for where we are".

They said it appeared to be used for storage, not for a residence. "They have no heat".

Deputies went there and found the Coltharps' vehicle "at a compound made up of shipping containers".

But the two Coltharp girls - Dinah and Haddie - were still missing.

Investigators determined that Samuel Shaffer was last seen with Dinah and Hattie Coltharp. The five spent the night in a tent, according to police.

Two Utah girls were found safe Monday three months after they were allegedly kidnapped by their "doomsday prepper" dad - who reportedly betrothed his daughters to a cult leader. Samuel Shaffer faces two counts of kidnapping and four counts of child abuse.

Authorities say their father took the children and grandparents to San Juan County, where they joined the Knights of the Crystal Blade.

On Tuesday, Coltharp was officially charged with first-degree felony kidnapping and obstruction of justice.