The body of Susan Alamo, wife of fugitive cult leader Tony Alamo, was taken from a mausoleum on the cult's compound in Arkansas after federal marshals had seized the property to satisfy a legal judgment, authorities said Tuesday.
During the weekend, marshals discovered that the small, granite mausoleum containing Alamo's remains had been broken into and the casket removed, according to Crawford County Sheriff Bill Grill.
At the request of a relative of Susan Alamo, a court order had been issued last week forbidding cult members from taking the body from the compound near the small town of Dyer, Grill said. The family member feared that the casket would be removed after the property was confiscated.
"It looked like (someone) took a sledgehammer or something and busted one end out," Grill said.
After his wife died of cancer in 1982, Tony Alamo, whose secretive Tony and Susan Alamo Foundation operates another commune in Saugus, predicted that she would be resurrected. Her embalmed body was reportedly kept on display at the Arkansas property for about six months until it was placed in the mausoleum.
The Alamos' foundation has gained notoriety for circulating anti-Catholic literature. In 1985, it had its tax-exempt status revoked after the Internal Revenue Service concluded that one of its primary purposes was making money for its leaders.
In 1989, Tony Alamo, leader of the fundamentalist Christian Foundation, fled Saugus after he was charged with abusing the child of a follower and has eluded capture. Alamo has contended that he was being persecuted by a "legal Mafia."
Marshals began seizing the compound property last Wednesday so it could be sold to settle a $1.8-million federal court judgment levied against the foundation. The judgment resulted from a civil lawsuit filed by a former foundation member who lived at the Arkansas compound, charging that his child had been abused by the Alamos, said Mike Blevins, chief deputy in the marshal's Fort Smith, Ark., office.
Besides the 250-acre compound, marshals seized Alamo properties elsewhere in Arkansas, including a 40-acre farm, numerous commercial properties and a church, Blevins said. Personal property, such as vehicles and office equipment, was also confiscated.