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SPRING CITY, Sanpete County — Police are asking for the public’s help to find four children who were taken by their father when he reportedly went to join a religious sect.
The children disappeared with their father, John Coltharp, and grandparents, Keith and Cathy Coltharp, in mid-September, Spring City Police Chief Clarke Christensen said. John Coltharp was arrested Friday on suspicion of kidnapping but has refused to tell police where his children are.
Christensen said family members told police the Coltharps may have left to join “a fundamentalist group” in Iron County, though investigators don’t know specifically which one. The kids — Dinah, 8; William, 7; Seth, 6; and Haddie, 4 — are believed to be with their grandparents or family friends.
When John Coltharp left with his children in September, Christensen said there wasn’t much police could do because he was still married to the children’s mother and had parental rights over them.
However, the mother has since obtained a divorce from John Coltharp, as well as full legal and physical custody of her children, Christensen said. A court order has also been issued to find the children and return them to their mother, the police chief said.
John Coltharp's arrest came after police were called out to investigate a suspicious individual at the family’s abandoned home in Spring City, Christensen said. Coltharp was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and obstruction of justice and is being held in the Sanpete County Jail on a $50,000 cash-only bond.
“My concern is if he gets out, we won’t see him or the kids again,” Christensen said.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Dinah, William, Seth and Haddie Coltharp is asked to contact police at Spring City police at 435-835-2345.
Family members have also set up a Facebook page to help find the Coltharp children.