A Franklin church group that embraces a controversial weight loss philosophy is under investigation. The Weigh Down Workshop, Remnant Fellowship Church and its founder Gwen Shamblin are being questioned about possible ties to the murder of a small child in Georgia.
Eight detectives from the Franklin Police Department and a detective from Cobb County, Georgia, executed a search warrant of the facility on Wednesday. Investigators are trying to see if the teachings of Shamblin’s church have anything to do with the death of an 8-year-old child.
The child’s parents, the Smiths, are members of one of Shamblin’s churches in Metro Atlanta and they are accused of beating their child to death.
Shamblin has maintained the child died when his head hit a banister. However in notes from an interview with child investigators, it said that the Smiths admitted to beating their child but did not admit to causing a severe head injury. Meanwhile, investigators say the boy was beaten so severely his head swelled.
Remnant Fellowship is a growing congregation with 130 churches nationwide. Mainstream Christian churches have been pulling away from Remnant Fellowship.
Some have called it a group with “cult-like characteristics.”
May 19, 2004
Tracy Haynes and Susan Harding (Reporters)