1/15/11- TG: Alleged enforcer Kolbek found dead in Kentucky

Texarkana Gazette
January 15, 2011
By: Lynn LaRowe

Alleged enforcer Kolbek found dead in Kentucky

Tony Alamo’s alleged enforcer John Kolbek died Thursday in rural Lawrence County, Ky.

Kolbek, 51, managed to elude state and federal authorities for more than two years. He was wanted in Sebastian County, Ark., in the alleged beating of a former member of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, and federal officials were seeking to arrest him for unlawful flight from prosecution.

Lawrence County Sheriff Garrett Roberts said medical personnel who responded to a 911 call concerning a man who wasn’t breathing were unable to revive Kolbek with CPR. Roberts said witnesses told him Kolbek had been sick.

“They said he came out of the bathroom, laid down on the bed and said he felt like he was dying and requested an ambulance,” Roberts said.

The sheriff said he’s waiting for the coroner’s report on the cause of the death.

Roberts said he grew suspicious when the woman who told him her name was Michelle [Misheal] Jones couldn’t remember her husband’s birthdate. Roberts said the woman claimed the deceased man was John Jones.

Roberts said the woman eventually admitted that John Kolbek was her husband’s real name and that her name is Jennifer Kolbek. From Army discharge papers and a birth certificate bearing Kolbek’s name, Roberts determined the deceased man was one authorities had been seeking.

Michelle [Misheal] Jones is actually Jennifer Kolbek’s sister and a former wife of Tony Alamo.

Roberts said Jennifer Kolbek left Kentucky Thursday evening with six children. He said she told him she was headed to Tennessee but would return.

“She left right after the coroner did,” Roberts said. “She’s supposed to meet with him sometime tomorrow.”

Roberts said two 18-year-olds, Jordan Jones and Benjamin Kolbek, remain in the house where the Kolbeks were living.

Roberts said the house is on 248 acres of land for which a sales contract is pending under the name of Michelle Jones.

The children Jennifer Kolbek left Kentucky with were among more than 90 children listed on documents signed by circuit judges in Miller and Sebastian counties in 2008 ordering the children’s removal from Alamo property in Fouke and Fort Smith. The children have never been found.

Arkansas Department of Human Services spokeswoman Julie Munsell said the removal orders have expired and DHS no longer has jurisdiction over the case because so much time has passed.

“With the FBI’s permission we have shared all of our information with Kentucky’s child welfare agency,” Munsell said.

Among the children with Kolbek are two girls and a boy who are not John and Jennifer Kolbek’s biological children.

Antavia Meggs, the children’s biological mother and an Alamo follower, said in a 2009 interview with the Texarkana Gazette that she signed the children over to the Kolbeks in 2007 because she feared DHS would take them if she didn’t. Meggs said Jennifer Kolbek drove her to a lawyer’s office in Fort Smith where she signed documents she neither read nor understood.

Meggs has not seen her children since 2008 and was last allowed to speak to them Sept. 20, 2008, the day the FBI and Arkansas State Police raided the ministry compound in Fouke.

Alamo, 76, was arrested less than a week later. In July 2009, he was convicted on all 10 counts in a federal indictment accusing him of bringing five girls he wed as children across state lines for sex. He is serving a 175-year term in a federal prison in Indiana.

One of the child brides who testified against Alamo in the criminal trial was Desiree Kolbek, John and Jennifer Kolbek’s daughter. Desiree was married to Alamo when she was 8.

Jennifer Kolbek testified on Alamo’s behalf during the criminal trial but invoked her 5th Amendment right to remain silent when prosecutors asked her about the children.

John Kolbek was known as Alamo’s enforcer. Former members have testified that Kolbek would beat children and adults at Alamo’s bidding with a 6-foot wooden paddle. The Sebastian County battery warrant that was active for Kolbek at the time of his death concerned the beating of Seth Calagna.

Calagna and Spencer Ondrisek, now 20-year-old former members who were raised in the ministry, filed a civil lawsuit seeking damages from Alamo and Kolbek in November 2008. The suit accused Kolbek and Alamo of battery, false imprisonment, conspiracy and outrage. Both men gave graphic and disturbing testimony concerning beatings they endured as children that left them bruised, bleeding and disfigured.

Because Kolbek was a fugitive, Texarkana attorney David Carter was granted permission to serve Kolbek with notice of the suit in the Texarkana Gazette.

When he failed to respond, the cases against Kolbek and Alamo were severed and eventually a default judgment for $3 million was awarded. Recently Carter filed a petition in Miller County Circuit Court seeking to invalidate property transfers from John and Jennifer Kolbek to other members.

“The judgment we obtained in federal court against Mr. Kolbek remains enforceable against his estate. We will substitute his estate as a defendant in the suit to set aside fraudulent deeds,” Carter said. “Otherwise our plans remain the same. We will still be asking the court to declare those deeds void and to order Kolbek’s interests in the Alamo properties sold. If the court agrees, the proceeds from those sales will be applied against the judgment in favor of Mr. Ondrisek and Mr. Calagna.”

Ondrisek’s and Calagna’s case against Alamo is scheduled for trial in May.

In: 2011

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