Mummified remains of Love Has Won leader found in religious group’s Colorado home
A woman who led a controversial Colorado religious group is dead and seven of her followers are under investigation after Saguache County sheriff’s deputies found the leader’s mummified body in a sleeping bag and wrapped in Christmas lights inside a home in Moffat.
Deputies discovered the woman’s body on Wednesday inside a mobile home where followers of Love Has Won, and its leader Amy Carlson, lived, according to an arrest affidavit.
A follower told deputies the body belonged to Lia Carlson, and a Saguache County sheriff’s corporal wrote in the affidavit that, “Ms. Carlson is believed to be the leader of ‘Love Has Won’ and goes by the name ‘Mother God.’”
It’s unknown why the follower gave the name “Lia Carlson” to sheriff’s deputies. Saguache County Coroner Tom Perrin confirmed he had received a body in connection with the investigation of the Love Has Won group but said he had not yet confirmed the identity.
Perrin said the body belonged to a middle-aged woman and it appeared she had been dead for awhile. “Must be a couple of weeks or more,” he said.
A follower posted a video message on Facebook on Sunday to say that Amy Carlson “has ascended,” and Amy Carlson has been identified as Love Has Won’s leader in previous reports on the religious group, which some law enforcement officials have called a cult.
Carlson, 45, was known as “Mother God” and “Mom” to the followers of Love Has Won, which made headlines in September when members, including Carlson, were forced to leave Hawaii under a police escort.
People whose family members have been involved in Love Has Won say Carlson led a cult and was abusive to her followers.
Seven people who lived in the home where the body was discovered were arrested Wednesday for investigation of abuse of a corpse and child abuse, according to an arrest affidavit from the Saguache County Sheriff’s Office.
Two children were inside the mobile home. A 13-year-old girl was placed in the care of the Saguache County Department of Social Services and a 2-year-old boy was returned to the custody of his father — a member who reported the death to authorities.
The seven were being held in the Rio Grand County Jail in Del Norte. Carlson’s death was first reported by Be Scofield in The Guru Magazine.
When deputies entered the home they could see mummified remains wrapped in a sleeping bag on a bed in a back room. The body had glitter makeup around its eyes and was decorated with Christmas tree lights, the affidavit said.
“The mummified remains appeared to be set up in some type of shrine,” the affidavit said.
Sheriff’s deputies searched a Nissan Rogue on the property and believed Carlson’s followers had transported her body to Colorado from California, the affidavit said. Love Has Won established roots in Crestone in 2018, but it has followers around the world.
“The Saguache County Sheriff’s Office has received many complaints from families within the United States saying that the group is brainwashing people and stealing their money,” the affidavit stated.
Efforts to reach those involved with Love Has Won were unsuccessful. A member of the group posted a statement and a video about Carlson’s death on Love Has Won’s Facebook page, although she said Mother God had “ascended.”
“She did not pass away. She ascended,” a woman who identified herself as Bobby said Sunday in a video on Facebook. “Her essence left the body of Amy Carlson at 12:22. She is indeed happy now.”
Carlson’s followers believe she started communicating with angels from a young age and she was leading them to a great awakening. They offer “spiritual intuitive ascension sessions” and sell spiritual healing products from an online shop. The group’s members broadcast daily videos on Facebook and YouTube, speaking about their religious beliefs and reading divine decrees for hours at a time.
A Facebook group called LoveHasWonExposed, which investigates the cult, said Carlson had told followers she would ascend via a starship or would disappear through a portal in the ocean.
The Love Has Won follower who wrote about the ascension on Saturday also said, “Mom had told us All this was coming, She prepared the team and All who feel Her for these MOMents sharing frequently stories of 2008 when the Galactics took Mom to the ships and shared with Her this was a death mission.”
The follower also asked for respect and grace as followers grieve and wrote that the group is respecting law enforcement’s work.
“We thank everyone for their Full Surrender to the Divine Plan. Mom will give you the next step in Your Heart in every Present MOMent you’re there, MOM ENTers. The team are respectfully honoring the process law enforcement require and we are grateful for their diligence in protecting Humanity. Mom deeply loves Our law enforcement officers as She does each and everyone of Her children,” the Facebook statement said.
In May, a group from Love Has Won, including Carlson, left Hawaii under police escort after protesters led a multi-day standoff where the group was staying. The Hawaiian demonstrators said Love Has Won’s practices were offensive and desecrated their culture.
A member of the group told The Denver Post in September they had traveled to Hawaii because of Mother God’s declining health, saying their leader was suffering from cancer and was paralyzed from the waist down.
Denver Post reporter Elise Schmelzer contributed to this report.
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