Houston Chronicle: Group opens fund to reunite mother with her kidnapped son

From XFamily - Children of God

Group opens fund to reunite mother with her kidnapped son

Houston Chronicle/December 6, 1989

By Evan Moore

A fund has been opened to help defray the cost of reuniting a Houston mother with her kidnapped son in Argentina.

Candy, a Houston housewife and a former member of the Children of God, learned recently that her son, Shaqued Pickus, 17, who was kidnapped by the group nine years ago, had been found in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, and is being held in protective custody there.

The mother, who has avoided using her full name publicly for fear of the group, has legal custody of the youth in this country, but must re-establish custody in Argentina before he can be brought back here.

Sonda Chesky, spokeswoman for the Cult Awareness Network, said her group will accept donations to help the woman with travel expenses and legal fees in Argentina.

"We know about this group and some of the things they've done and we wanted to help," said Chesky.

Shaqued and his brother, Christopher, now 15, were taken by their father, Brian Pickus, and a number of the Children of God in Honolulu in 1980. Pickus was charged with burglary in the incident and, later, with the federal crime of flight to avoid prosecution.

He and a dozen other members of the cult were arrested in Argentina Nov. 4 on charges of drug trafficking and child abuse, and 34 children were picked up. The adults were later released, but 29 of the children are still in protective custody and Brian Pickus was held for extradition to the U.S.

The father has told police he reported the younger brother missing two years ago and has not seen him since.

Shaqued's mother, who has two other children from her marriage to Pickus and three from a subsequent marriage, has said she wants to bring her son to Houston, despite the fact he has been kept by the cult for nine years. The Children of God is a worldwide group that supports itself through prostitution by female members and uses their children in pornography.

"I just want to give him a chance to see a different way of life," she said.

Chesky said contributions should be designated "to the Shaqued Pickus fund" and can be sent to: The Cult Awareness Network, P.O. Box 720257, Number 237, Houston, Texas, 77272.