1/15/11 – Follower Of Alamo Dead

Times Record
January 15, 2011
By Jordan Grummer

Follower Of Alamo Dead

John Erwin Kolbeck, a fugitive from justice for the last two years and one of America’s most wanted men, was found dead in Kentucky, according to the Fort Smith Police Department.

The Police Department received word from the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the late evening hours Thursday that Kolbeck’s body had been found in Louisa, Ky. His identity was confirmed by his physical description, tattoos, and ultimately his fingerprints, according to a news release. The cause of death at this time is being ruled as natural causes.

“I was kind of shocked,” said Sgt. Daniel Grubbs when he learned of Kolbeck’s death. “What we care about is justice for the victims that we represent. Would we rather he faced the judicial system? Yes. Is it a relief? Yes. At least now they have some peace.”

Kolbeck, 51, was wanted on two outstanding felony warrants for second-degree battery and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Kolbeck was a follower of evangelist Tony Alamo, who is serving 175 years in federal prison for transporting children across state lines for sex. Kolbeck, who was profiled on the television program America’s Most Wanted several times, was believed by authorities to be Alamo’s “enforcer.” Alamo allegedly asked Kolbeck to beat numerous children.

Police believed Kolbeck severely beat a 17-year-old boy with a 2×6 board in a Fort Smith warehouse, according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant in 2008.

The boy was knocked to the concrete floor and beaten repeatedly with the board, which caused significant bruising and bleeding, according to the affidavit. His chin was also split open, and Kolbeck beat him until the board broke.

The beating allegedly occurred between Jan. 1 and March 1, 2008, after the boy made a sarcastic comment about Harry Potter.

Others came forward with similar stories of Kolbeck beating them with a board, according to the affidavit.

“Those people were pretty brave to come forward and talk to the police to at least try and stop some the beatings that these people were getting,” Grubbs said.

The boy told the FBI he was hesitant to report the incident because he was taught law enforcement was evil, and Kolbeck had beaten him 10 times worse at the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries compound in Fouke.

“A lot of stress was taken away from the people who sought help and assisted in the investigation to catch this guy,” Grubbs said. “They don’t have to look over their shoulder for this guy anymore.”

In: 2011

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