January 9, 1999
DENVER (CNN) -- Eleven members of a Denver-based religious doomsday group taken into custody and expelled by Israeli authorities returned to Denver on Saturday to anxiously waiting relatives.
However, the members of Concerned Christians, eight adults and three children, avoided family members, reporters and others following the sect's activities. Instead they requested that Denver police transport them from their Air Canada jet to an undisclosed location where they could contact relatives.
Denver police Sgt. James Gropp told CNN that since they are not known to have broken U.S. law, they were not being detained. "They are free to go when they get off the plane," said Gropp.
Israeli police said last Sunday that members of the sect planned to do violence before the millennium in Jerusalem and had been detained for questioning.
At the time of their detention, Israeli authorities called them an apocalyptic cult that "intended to carry out a number of extremely violent actions in Jerusalem at the end of 1999 in order to advance the Second Coming of Jesus."
Israeli authorities, fearful of an increasing number of such activities in Jerusalem because of the ancient city's deep religious history, have said they would not tolerate the presence of such extremist groups.
Three of the members remain in Israel, under investigation. The 14 are among 80 who last autumn sold their homes and possessions in the Denver area and then disappeared.
They followed the mandates of leader Monte Kim Miller, who has foretold his own death on the streets of Jerusalem sometime in 1999. He was not among those detained last weekend.
Miller has "taken people away from the love of their families," said Del Dycke, the father of one of Miller's followers, "and I would call that a cult."
Dycke's 20-year-old son James, his son's 19-year-old wife, Melanie, and their baby, Jordan, were among those returning. The father said he hoped sect members would "come to their senses" and that Miller would kill himself and leave others alone.
An off-duty Denver policeman, Mark Roggeman, said he had been investigating the group for three years. Sect members' personalities had changed after joining, Roggeman said relatives told him.
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