Alleged enforcer for jailed cult leader Tony Alamo found dead

Police say John Kolbeck, a man sought for more than two years on charges he beat disobedient followers of a now-convicted evangelist, has died Thursday in Kentucky op an apparent heart attack, Associated Press reports.

John Erwin Kolbeck was an alleged ‘enforcer’ for evangelist Tony Alamo. He disappeared from sight shortly after federal agents and state troopers raided the Arkansas compound of Alamo’s ministry in September 2008.

Wanted on two outstanding felony warrants for Battery 2nd Degree and Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution, Kolbeck has been featured on America’s Most Wanted a number of times.

While he was still on the run a judge in October 2009 ruled that the alleged enforcer must pay $3 million in restitution to two boys he’s believed to have savagely beaten on Tony Alamo’s behalf.

Kolbek died at a home in rural Lawrence County, Ky., just outside of the small town of Blaine.

Lawrence County Sheriff Garrett Roberts says Kolbek’s wife, Jennifer, was contacted by her estranged husband. Roberts says Jennifer Kolbek told police her husband called her from Somerset, Ky., saying he was sick and needed her to come get him.


Two days later, Kolbek called 911 to report her husband was not breathing. She identified herself to police as “Michelle Jones” and said her husband “John Jones” needed help.

John Kolbek died a short time later, but it wasn’t until his body was taken in for an autopsy that authorities realized he was wanted by the FBI. Roberts says authorities were able to identify Kolbek by his fingerprints.

In July 2009 a jury found Alamo guilty of taking girls as young as 9 across state lines for sex. In November that same year he was sentenced to 175 years in prison for taking little girls as young as 9 across state lines to have sex with them.

Cult experts view Alamo Christian Ministries as a cult, both sociologically and theologically.

On the Website of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which characterizes Alamo Ministries as a hate group, an article called “The Ravening Wolf” outlines some of cult leader Alamo’s beliefs that got him on their watchlist.

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This post was last updated: Jan. 19, 2011