'PURPORTED CULTISTS [SIC] COULDN'T KILL' by Mark Shaffer in +quot;The Arizona Republic+quo

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

'PURPORTED CULTISTS [SIC] COULDN'T KILL' by Mark Shaffer in "The Arizona Republic" Sunday, 28 June 1992 COOLIDGE- The Rev. Billy Brown smiles as he remembers the spiritual frenzy of the Cannaday brothers. They used to go into mystical trances and speak in tongues for hours on end at his Trinity Baptist Church. Darned good singer, too, Brown said. Give them a hymnal and you could count on pleasant harmonies far into the night. But mention the name of the Cannadays to law-enforcement officials in these parts, and no one says choirboys. Arizona Department of Public Safety investigators say they believe the four men, along with their sister and former sister-in-law, were involved in possible satanic-cult activities in the sesert west of Coolidge. These activities, they say, may have included the slaying of children during rituals. Friends laugh at the prospect, saying the Cannadays can't even stand the sight of blood on television. Besides, they point out, no one knows of any missing kids. But earlier this month, DPS investigators, acting on a tip, unearthed bone fragments, clothing, and pieces of duct tape near the Eleven Mile Corner area. Two other digs, one last year nd one last week, turned up nothing. No charges have been filed, and nothing has been found to link the Cannadays to the items, DPS Capt. Jim McMorris said. But McMorris said investigators are interested in the allegations of four children, all of whom claim they were molested. Edward Cannaday, 36; Otis Cannaday, 33; Carl Dean Cannaday, 35; Edgar "Yogi" Cannaday, 29; Sharlotte Cannaday Brown, age unknown; and Charlotte Burkhart, 38, were arrested and charged in November on 32 counts of child molestation involving four juveniles, ages 9 to 14, during November 1988. All but Brown remain in the Pinal County Jail in Florence. Jailers would not allow a reporter to talk to the Cannadays last week. A court document filed by Robert Cimino, Edward's attorney in the molestation case, indicated that the children told investigators last year that some of the defendants were involved in "satanic practices and rituals." "References were made by some of the molestation victims ... that some of the defendants herein engaged in human sacrifices, which the children were made to witness," Cimino wrote. "On at least one occasion, one victim said the victim was made to also engage in the human sacrifice of a newborn child." McMorris refused to comment on whether investigators had leads in the case other than what were provided by the children. Pinal County Attorney Roy Mendoza said he knew of no missing children in the county who had been tied into the case. Aquaintances of the Cannadays in Coolidge, a hard-bitten cotton- growing city, say the accusations of cults and slayings are baloney. They say that the Cannadays barely have the brainpower to tie their own shoes, much less understand satanism. "All those Cannadays are just a bunch of retarded people," said Betty Lewis, Charlotte Burkhart's sister. "It's the same way with those accusing them. They're kin of theirs. You look in their eyes and you see no intelligence." Billy Brown, who is Sharlotte Brown's father-in-law, said that one of the brothers demanded that his bail amount be doubled because he apparently was insulted that it wasn't the same as one of his brother's. "How ridiculous is that? That poor boy can't even read and write," Brown said. According to pinal County court records, Otis was interviewed by Phoenix psychologist Paul M. Bindelglas on April 30. Bindelglas wrote that he had a recorded IQ of 54, that he read at a third-grade level, that he was in special-education classes until he was 22, and that he is "on the border of mild-moderate mental retardation." Lewis said the Cannadays spent most of their time tossing horseshoes and playing children's games. "The reason I don't believe this stuff about sacrificing humans is that just the thought of blood scared all of them half to death," Lewis said. "I saw them all leavge the room once when a bloody movie came on TV." Brown said the Cannaday's problems began when Edward quit his job as a janitor and moved to California two years ago and then refused to pay alimony to his former wife. "She said that she would have them all thrown in jail, and she did." Brown said. Gary Dill, a former neighbor of the Cannaday family, said detectives could easily scare the Cannadays into confessing anything about cult activities whether it happened or not."I just don't know how they can hold people in jail who are so badly retarded," Dill said.

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank