10/02/09 – ‘Most Wanted’ TV show to air segment on Alamo follower Kolbek

Times Record – Fort Smith, Arkansas
October 2, 2009
By Amy Sherrill

“Most Wanted” TV Show to Air Alamo Segment


The Fox television show “America’s Most Wanted” filmed segments in Fort Smith on Thursday for a future episode that will highlight the abuse of children by a follower of evangelist Tony Alamo who severely beat children at Alamo’s request, according to court documents.

John Erwin Kolbeck, 49, of Fort Smith is wanted on a second-degree battery warrant in connection with an attack on a 17-year-old boy with a 2×6 board in a Fort Smith warehouse, according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant.

The boy was knocked onto the concrete floor and beaten repeatedly with the board which caused significant bruising and bleeding, the affidavit states. The boy’s chin split open when he hit the floor and he still has a scar from the incident. Kolbeck continued to beat the boy until the board broke.

Kolbeck fled the area soon after the 2008 federal raid on the Fouke compound of Tony Alamo Ministries, said Sgt. Levi Risley of the Fort Smith Police Department.

The second-degree battery case was investigated by detective Cpl. Kris Deason who was interviewed Thursday by the television show.

Diana Knoll, an associate producer with “America’s Most Wanted,” said the episode is tentatively scheduled to air Nov. 14. However, that date could be pushed back depending on the show’s scheduling, she said.

Segments also have been filmed in California where Alamo began his ministry. Today, the television crew will film in the Texarkana, Ark., area, where Alamo lived before being convicted earlier this year.

In Deason’s investigation, she found that the boy was beaten at a Fort Smith property in the 800 block of South Fourth Street because he made a sarcastic remark about Harry Potter and was written up for the incident.

The FBI also interviewed the boy who was reluctant to talk with authorities at first because he had been taught that law enforcement was evil. He has left the Tony Alamo church but still has family members there.

The boy told police he was afraid to report the incident, which occurred sometime between Jan. 1 and March 1, 2008, because Kolbeck beat him previously in Fouke and that was 10 times worse. He still has scars and marks from the beatings, according to the affidavit.

Alamo, whose real name is Bernie Lazar Hoffman, was convicted earlier this year of various charges, including taking a 13-year-old girl across state lines for sex in 2004 and aiding and abetting her transport across state lines for sex in 2005.

He was arrested in Arizona five days after the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries compound in Fouke was raided Sept. 20, 2008.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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