Three people charged with kidnapping their neighbours while naked were Jehovah’s Witnesses who were convinced the end of the world was imminent, it has emerged.
According to court document obtained by the Canadian Press, two women and one man pleaded guilty to unlawful confinement after taking three people hostage in Leduc, Alberta. One of the women involved also admitted dangerous driving.
The bizarre case first made headlines in November 2017 after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were called to the scene of a car crash in an industrial park in Nisku, south of Edmonton. On arrival, officers said the group were chanting "Jehovah" and refused to exit the vehicle.
Officers added that the people in the SUV “displayed extreme strength”, were unaffected by pepper spray and did not relent when shot with Tasers.
The plea document states that the group’s erratic behaviour began several days earlier when they travelled to Leduc to visit relatives.
During the three-day gathering they are believed to have refused to leave the house and barely ate. They eventually came to believe they had lived through the Great Tribulation, a period of suffering which some evangelical Christians believes foreshadows part of the biblical "End Times”.
One of the teenagers recalled hearing screaming, seeing ashes and hiding in the bathroom from “demons and wicked people outside” during their hibernation.
Believing they were in imminent danger, the group fled the house to find safety and none of the family – except the mother – managed to get dressed.
"They did so because they believed that they were in danger, either from bad or wicked people outside or from demons," the document explains.
“Four who were naked were changing but they had to leave right away because it was unsafe, so they left without clothes.”
They made a pit stop at a neighbour’s house and forced a man, his adult daughter and her six-week son into their BMW SUV. The man was forced into the boot of the vehicle and his daughter was put in the back seat with her child.
The victims were able to escape after the vehicle slowed down and before the woman driving collided with another car and then crashed into a ditch.
All three adult are scheduled to return to court on 20 December. The two teenage daughters were not charged.