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Inside the Crestone Cult Raid that Led to a Deceased Body

Be Scofield is the author of the new book Hunting Lucifer: One Reporter's Search for Cults and Demons. Her cult reporting is mentioned in the NY Times, Rolling Stone, and People, and has been turned into HBO, Netflix, Dr. Phil, VICE, and more.

  • This is an exclusive interview with Miguel Lamboy conducted shortly after he reported Amy Carlson's body to the police.


May 3rd, 2021

“Come see mother,” Jason Castillo told Miguel Lamboy as they walked into the Love Has Won cult’s house in Crestone. It was around 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28th. Miguel hadn’t seen Amy Carlson, aka “Mother God” in a few months. They made their way to the back near the kitchen and entered the bedroom. Miguel froze in complete shock. A decaying corpse wrapped in a colorful cloth was laying on the bed. He noticed dark gray skin and teeth protruding out of the mouth. “It was like something you see in the movies,” he told me during an interview. “Give her a hug,” Jason told him. Baffled, Miguel refused.

The woman whom Miguel had worked closely with since 2012 was dead. His hero. The one he claims cured him from stage 4 cancer. The woman he had helped build Love Has Won into a global spiritual movement. Mother God. She was gone. And Jason Castillo, Amy’s partner and co-leader of the group, was utterly oblivious to the fact of it.

“I have to go ground,” Miguel told him. Jason got angry and said, “You had the best days of her life with her while I’ve had the worst.” Miguel exited the house only to be confronted by an angry group member named John Robertson aka “Hilarion” in the driveway. Miguel dropped his bag in the car and went to grab his son Drake but another member named Karin swept him away “forcefully.” Faced with several members upset with him over finances who were harboring a dead body he fled.

When Jason and three other members (Ryan Kramer, John Robertson, and Ma Franco Gonzalez) arrived the day before on Tuesday, Miguel wasn’t expecting them, nor did he know if Amy was with them. They had been staying in Mt. Shasta and Dunsmuir in Northern California for the previous few months while Miguel had been traveling to sites around Colorado collecting supplies to renovate the house. When he inquired about Amy, Jason was vague and acted strange. For all Miguel knew Amy was still in California. But in reality, the four had transported her body in Ma Franco Gonzalez’s car across state lines into Colorado.

“I had heard bad things about the Saguache County Police,” Miguel told me. “So, instead I raced up to the Salida police, driving 75 miles an hour the entire way.” He couldn’t fathom explaining the situation to a 911 dispatcher and he was in a state of shock and confusion.

He told Detective Rob Martellaro everything. “They were having a hard time taking in the story,” he said. Martellaro asked specific questions about the house, the rooms, and the names of the people involved. “It’s a corpse,” Miguel told him. “It’s something out of the movies, I’ve never seen something like this,” he said to him. He had to reenact what he saw and how it unfolded. Detective Martellaro told me during an interview that at first Miguel’s story sounded “strange” but that overall he seemed believable. He verified to me that Miguel’s story was true. Salida authorities then turned the case over to Saguache County.

Within hours a squad of police vehicles descended upon the Casita Park home where Love Has Won cult members had lived on and off for the past several years. This was no “wellness check,” rather, they knew who and what was inside. Neighbor Steve Kemp told me that he counted at least eight vehicles as he walked his dog nearby around 2:30 a.m.

With a search warrant in hand, police entered the home and promptly arrested all seven members and took two children into their custody. Authorities have said Amy’s body was so badly decomposed that her fingerprints were not usable, a process that can take many weeks. Captain Ken Wilson told me during an interview that the body looked to have been deceased for a month.

After several hours, at 3:00 a.m., an officer handed 2-year-old Drake to Miguel. “The Sheriff looked me in the eyes and thanked me,” Miguel told me. “He was kind enough to pay for my hotel room.”

The four members who transported the body across state lines are facing the more serious charge of “tampering with deceased human remains.” In Colorado, it is a Class 3 felony that carries a minimum of 4 years and a maximum of 12 years if convicted. The other three members in the home had arrived separately and were charged with the less serious “abuse of a corpse” which is a class 2 misdemeanor. All members were charged with two counts of child abuse, a misdemeanor carrying up to 18 months in jail. They were taken to the neighboring Rio Grande County jail as they had the space to house the members separately. As of Monday, May 3rd all members are still in jail.

Since Ma Franco Gonzalez’s car was used to transport Amy’s body it was impounded for the forensic team to do a thorough investigation. Goes Offline For Good

“Instead of following her teachings they became zealots,” Miguel told me. He said the group became all about worshiping Amy. His sentiment spoke to the increasing rift that developed between himself and other key leaders like Lauren Suarez and Ashley Hope who he described as immature. Over time he became increasingly less aware of what was transpiring.

Some have tried to portray Miguel as the mastermind behind the group who manipulated and controlled Amy and is running off the money. He told me he was surprised when Amy wanted everything put under his name as he had no background in finance. “She told me she wanted to do this because she had lost her I.D.” At first he tried to get her a new I.D. but when that failed he went along with her wishes.

Miguel said Amy did it because she trusted him and they had been working together since 2012. Amy may have had other intentions, however. It’s common for con artists and cult leaders to not want anything in their name so as to avoid legal and financial responsibility. Miguel is now technically liable for any fraud, tax evasion or other issues that may surface.

“I’ve heard people say I was trying to flee,” Miguel told me. But he says it’s not true as he and Drake have remained in the hotel ever since. He plans to return to the home in Casita Park as soon as it is no longer a crime scene.

He has no plans to take over the cult as some have suggested. He laughed at the idea. “I have a kid and that’s my full-time job right now,” he told me. Amy had told him her wishes were for him to use the money to continue selling herbals and to try and build schools. He said he’s starting a new non-profit and the money will be used for those purposes.

As for the group's main website, he permanently shut it down on Sunday. He doesn’t control the Facebook group and no longer knows who does. When photos of two former members were put on the “Team Members” page on Saturday he had no idea. He said Lauryn and Ashley Hope had been administering that page. Regardless, he’s now shut the site down for good.

While some ex-members expressed concerns that Miguel was manipulative, they did agree that he, of all members, would be truthful. A former member said that in her limited experience with Miguel, he could be the one to be rational in the group. Although she, along with another former member said they had experienced him being manipulative in the past and can’t be sure of his intentions.

“Amy knew how to manipulate people to a tee,” another member told me. “She had Miguel under her thumb. She knew how to turn people against him. No matter what power play making him the bad guy because she liked to do that for drama.”

“They kept Miguel at a distance,” Ash told me. She said Amy and others would trash-talk him, but that happened to all members. It’s how Amy kept members under her control and subservient, by pitting them against each other.

Miguel, like another former member I spoke with, still is a true believer in Amy’s pure god-like divinity. He truly loved her and is still in a state of shock. They both placed the blame on the group members, not Amy. “They’ll have to now pay for what they did,” Miguel told me referring to the legal ramifications.

“If I die then everybody dies, it will be the end of the universe,” Ash said Amy told her. Her followers had pushed this narrative for years, but when Amy actually died nothing happened. Miguel pushed back. “No, she ascended,” he told me.


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