Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Baby Starved by Baltimore Cult...

1 Mind Ministries is apparently some kind of Christian religious cult that was formerly based in Baltimore, MD. In 2007, the group suddenly fled to Philadelphia and police are now saying that it's because of the death of 21 month-old Javon Thompson, the son of cult member Ria Ramkissoon. Thompson was apparently beaten and eventually starved to death by cult members for "trivial infractions such as disobeying orders to say 'amen' at meals", according to this editorial from the Baltimore Sun. Other reports claim that other cult children interviewed by the police indicated that Thompson had been intentionally starved because he was "a demon".

An Associated Press story claims that after Javon's death cult members allegedly kept his body for at least a week as they waiting for "God to raise him from the dead." When it became apparent that this would happened, Javon's mother and four other cultists stuffed his body into a suitcase and kept it for several more months before hiding it in a friend's storage shed and fleeing to Philadelphia in early 2007. Four of the group's members, including Ramkissoon, are already in custody. A fifth, cult leader Steven Bynum, is still on the run and is being sought by the police for 1st-degree murder. The cult's other leader, Toni Ellisberry (aka Queen Antoinette) is already in custody, as is her daughter Trevia Williams (aka Princess Travia)*.

1 Mind Ministries was to all appearances an extremely small group (consisting, according to reports, of just a couple of adults, some younger girls, and a few children) and relatively little is known about its practices. Apparently members subscribed to a belief system that forbade the use of modern medicine, even during childbirth, but other than that there isn't much that I can say for certain. There are also rumors that the group had "ambitious plans" to start a Jesus-centered clothing line called J.C. Apparel.

What is certain is that Javon Thompson's grandmother Seeta Khadan-Newton had sought police help in 2006 because she feared for her grandson's safety. Police checked on the boy and found him to be "in good health". Khadan-Newton later sued for custody, but all of that came too late to save the young boy.

This entire situation is completely horrific and I can't imagine having to go through what Khadan-Newton is going through right now. Hopefully Bynum will be captured soon and get what he has coming to him from the justice system. I don't like to take an "I told you so" tone with stories like this because I think it's disrespectful to the innocent people involved, but it's also plain to see that poor Javon Thompson will never get the chance to turn two years old because of his mother's insane religious predilections.

I should also note that 1 Mind Ministries is not the same as One Mind Ministries, the husband and wife motivational speaking duo.

*The spelling discrepancies are in the original report.

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