A Houston woman holds hope for child in cult
By Evan Moore
She's given up on one child but still has hopes for the second.
Former cult member Candy, a Houston woman whose sons, Shaqued and Christopher Pickus, were kidnapped by her former husband and cult members in Hawaii in 1980, heard news of her sons for the first time in nine years in November.
Shaqued, almost 18, had been found living with The Children of God in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, and her former husband had been arrested there.
Her hopes for a reunion with the boy faded, however, when she learned he did not want to talk to her and preferred his life with the cult.
"But there's still a chance I might see Christopher (now 16) and the biggest question is: Where is he?" she said.
Candy's former husband, Brian Edward Pickus, 41, who was arrested on an Interpol warrant, told police the younger boy had run away in Buenos Aires in July 1987. Officers and members of the court don't believe Pickus, however, and neither does his ex-wife.
"He said the boy ran away and, when the judge asked him why he didn't follow it up, file a missing persons report, he just said it was the will of God," said Ana Maria Vives, attorney for the criminal section of the federal court in Bahia Blanca.
"As it stands, he could be charged with abandoning a minor, a very serious charge in Argentina. We think the boy is somewhere with (The Children of God) and Pickus may produce him if he is.' Pickus is free on a $70,000 bond on burglary charges stemming from the abduction and faces extradition from Argentina to face trial in Hawaii.
"If Christopher is there and I could talk to him, maybe he'd remember and want to come home to me," said the mother, who has remarried since leaving the cult and keeps her identity secret out of fear.
"If that's not possible, I'd at least like to see Brian extradited and tried for kidnapping my sons. If it didn't serve any other purpose, maybe it would help let (The Children of God) know they can't always get away with what they want.
"Aside from that, I guess there's not much that can be done about them, except to let people know they're still out there and they're still a threat.'
A combination support group and information source on the group is "No Longer Children," operated by David and Mary Lou Hiebert in Richmond, British Columbia. The Hieberts publish a newsletter and can be reached at Box 415-8155 Park Road, Richmond, B.C. Canada, V6Y 3C9.