11/20/08 – KTAL VIDEO Report: Alamo Church Tour

November 20, 2008
by: Karen Hopkins

Alamo Church Tour

It’s the story we first brought you Wednesday night on KTAL news at five. People living in the Tony Alamo Compound in Fouke, Arkansas finally talk. They are sharing what life is really like with the ministry. Thursday, they took our cameras to places never seen before on TV. We followed church members inside the backyard of the home Tony Alamo stays at, while in Fouke. The area has a pool with a slide, a swing set and castle, a gate with ponies and puppies, and a carousel. “The children ride around and have a lot of fun back here,” church member Lisa Thorne said. Alamo Church members showed KTAL what is left of the Alamo community in Fouke. “Families, they’re not here anymore,” Thorne said. We drove down a gravel road and saw empty homes. “Eight homes here that were full, but now are empty because of this whole situation. These families had to leave if they didn’t want their children taken. I don’t know where they’re at, and I don’t want to know where they are at,” church member Carlos Parrish said. A gym that FBI searched for evidence is locked up. We visited a green home, some say is a house of punishment. “Their allegations are false allegations being brought by disgruntled members of the ministry,” Thorne said. We visited the home of Sophia and Carlos Parrish. Authorities took four of their children Tuesday. The couple said they got married about seven years ago and had a happy family life. Sophia says she was 16 when she got married, and Carlos says he was 23. “Love brought us together. She had parental consent, and we got married, “ Carlos said. Inside the Alamo church, the pews are empty. So are the desks at the schoolhouse. Thorne said she fears the state will take more children. Thorne said the Department of Human Services gave her paperwork, listing names of the children living at the church. “Yes there are many papers. They were all stapled together, and I had a list of all the children in the ministry. I started counting them and stopped at about 130,” Thorne said. Out of 130 children, 26 are in state custody. The Department of Human Services is still looking for more Alamo church children. A spokesperson says they’re not sure how many there are. The DHS has also notified bordering states about the children. Texarkana is asking for more volunteers to work with the children taken from Tony Alamo’s church. Court appointed special advocates or Casa, guide children through the legal process. Casa needs about 21 more volunteers. Volunteers must be at least 21 years old and able to pass a background check. There’s an information session for volunteers on December 2nd at 12pm and 5:30pm in the Casa office. For more information call the Casa office at 870.775.1252.

In: 2008 - (Trial year)

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