Jadon Higganbothan died from single gunshot wound; Cult leader charged

An autopsy report released Tuesday shows 5-year-old Jadon Higganbothan died from a gunshot wound to the head before being wrapped in plastic bags and buried in a shallow grave behind a Durham, N.C. home.

Local TV station NBC 17 reports

The results indicate Higganbothan died from a single gunshot would to the top of his head.

Higganbothan’s body was found in the backyard of a home located at 2622 Ashe Street in June, along with the body of 28-year-old Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy.

On Monday, an autopsy report revealed McKoy was shot three times before being wrapped in 10 black plastic bags and burried.

Seven people have been charged with murder in the two deaths.


Durham County prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Peter Moses, Jr., who is accused of killing both Higganbothan and McKoy.

Black Hebrews

Moses is the leader of a group police and media have referred to as a polygamous religious cult, said to be affiliated with the so-called Black Hebrews.

Black Hebrew Israelites (also Black Hebrews, African Hebrew Israelites, and Hebrew Israelites) are diverse groups of people mostly of Black African ancestry who believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites. Black Hebrews adhere in varying degrees to the religious beliefs and practices of mainstream Judaism, but are not accepted as Jews. Many Black Hebrews consider themselves — and not mainstream Jews — to be the only authentic descendants of the ancient Israelites.

Black Hebrews have no central authority, and the beliefs and practices of Black Hebrew groups vary considerably. At the extremist fringe some groups of Black Hebrews are said to promote Black supremacy. Many of the groups are polygamous and many have authoritarian leaders along with cult-like characteristics.

Escape and escape attempt

A woman who escaped Peter Moses’ cult told police last February that McKoy was killed after trying to escape.

According to records, Pete Lucas Moses ordered Vania Sisk, one of his girlfriends, to shoot McKoy in December 2010. Before shooting her, Moses, Sisk and Lavada Harris, another of Moses’ girlfriends, beat her for hours.

Vania Sisk is Jadon Higganbothan’s mother.

According to NBC 17, Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline

said Moses lived at the home with a number of woman and eight children. All of the children were fathered by Moses except Jayden. Jadon’s mother, Vania Sisk, was one of the women who lived at the home and is charged with the murder of McKoy.

Cline said during the Spring of 2010 Moses got angry at Jadon for hitting another child on the bottom. Prosecutors believe Moses thought Jadon was a homosexual, like his biological father, and it was against Moses’ religious beliefs so he shot Jadon in the head. […]

Cline told the judge that Moses killed Jadon and McKoy because they didn’t fit into his religious beliefs.

“It did not include a 4-year-old who he accused of and thought was a homosexual, and it did not include a woman who could not have children and who was trying to get away from there and we believe at the time was trying to go to the police,” Cline said.

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This post was last updated: Oct. 5, 2011