Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas/Family and Other Outside Contacts

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Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas
United States Department of Justice
Family and Other Outside Contacts

V. Family and other Outside Contacts[edit]

A. Introduction[edit]

During the standoff the FBI engaged in extensive contact with family members and associates of those inside the compound. The FBI received many inquiries from family members about the ongoing standoff and the status of their relatives inside. The FBI provided as much information as possible to the family members to keep them informed. The FBI also interviewed many of the family members, friends, and former compound members to gather as much relevant intelligence about the compound and its inhabitants as possible.

The FBI also acted as a conduit for messages to and from people inside the compound and relatives, friends, attorneys and others on the outside. Longstanding FBI policy counsels against direct contact between barricaded subjects and their family members. In prior experiences with hostage takers, law enforcement has learned that a direct contact between a family member and the subject can sometimes trigger a sudden, violent reaction by the subject.

However, the FBI did allow direct contact between those Davidians who had left the compound and those who remained inside, to give those inside confidence that they would be treated well upon their departure. In addition, the FBI sent videos into the compound depicting the released children, to demonstrate the FBI's good faith to those remaining inside the compound, and to attempt to coax the parents of those children to leave the compound.

B. Contacts Between Persons Inside the Compound and Family Members[edit]

The FBI transmitted a number of messages back and forth from compound residents to their family and friends. The contacts took a variety of forms, including letters, phone calls, cassette tapes, and video tapes. A total of 97 such contacts were permitted. A partial chronology of those contacts is set out below.

March 1, 1993 -- Kathy Schroeder's children, Scott Mabb (age 11), Jacob Mabb (age 9), and Chrissy Mabb (age 10) were permitted to talk with their mother by telephone following their release from the compound. Schroeder subsequently left the compound on March 12, 1993.

March 2, 1993 -- Theresa Nobrega's daughter, Natalie Nobrega (age 11), was permitted to talk with her mother by telephone following Natalie's release from the compound. Theresa Nobrega remained inside the compound and died on April 19.

March 3, 1993 -- Mark Jones (age 12) was released from the compound and permitted to speak by telephone with Cyrus Howell (Koresh's son, age 8). Cyrus eventually died in the April 19 fire.

March 5, 1993 -- Heather Jones (age 9) was released from the compound and permitted to speak by telephone with her father, David Jones. David Jones eventually died on April 19.

March 5, 1993 -- The FBI sent photographs and a videotape of the children who had been released into the compound.

March 7, 1993 -- Kathryn Schroeder was permitted to pass a message from inside the compound out to her son Bryan Schroeder (age 3) at the Methodist Children's Home.

March 7, 1993 -- David Thibodeau was permitted to send a message from inside the compound to his mother stating that he was okay and was remaining inside the compound of his own free will. Thibodeau survived the April 19 fire.

March 7, 1993 -- The FBI received a call from Graeme Craddock's brother; the FBI advised Craddock that his brother had called. Craddock survived the April 19 fire.

March 8, 1993 -- Koresh sent a video out from the compound to the FBI, in which Koresh shows his children. FBI doctors and other experts viewed the videotape.

March 8, 1993 -- The FBI played tape recordings of Joe Santoya speaking to his sister, compound member Juliette Santoya Martinez, and to his mother, Ophelia Santoya. Ophelia left the compound on March 21; Juliette remained inside and died on April 19.

March 8, 1993 -- Juliette Santoya Martinez asked the FBI to tell her brother, Joe Santoya, "I love him and take care of grandmother."

March 9, 1993 -- The FBI sent a second videotape and a set of photographs of the released children into the compound.

March 9, 1993 -- Koresh sent out the second videotape from inside the compound to the FBI.

March 9, 1993 -- The FBI advised Steve Schneider that his sister had called. Schneider remained inside the compound and died on April 19.

March 9, 1993 -- The FBI relayed a message to Koresh from Koresh's aunt.

March 9, 1993 -- The FBI advised Kathryn Schroeder that her three Mabb children were in the custody of their biological father.

March 9, 1993 -- The FBI played a tape recording for Steve Schneider made by Schneider's sister.

March 10, 1993 -- The FBI passed a birthday greeting to Ruth Riddle from her mother.

March 10, 1993 -- The FBI played a tape recording for Koresh made by Koresh's ex-girlfriend.

March 10, 1993 -- The FBI sent a videotape into the compound depicting the negotiators, and reading notes from the released children to compound members.

March 11, 1993 -- The FBI advised Koresh that Koresh's mother has hired attorney Dick DeGuerin to represent him.

March 12, 1993 -- The FBI sent a videotape into the compound showing Kathryn Schroeder reuniting with her son Bryan.

March 12, 1993 -- The FBI arranged a conference call between Kathryn Schroeder, Steve Schneider and the FBI negotiators.

March 13, 1993 -- The FBI read a message to Steve Schneider from his sister.

March 14, 1993 -- Oliver Gyarfas, who departed the compound on March 12, was permitted to speak by telephone with Koresh and Schneider.

March 14, 1993 -- The FBI played a tape-recorded message to David Thibodeau from his mother. Thibodeau survived the fire on April 19.

March 15, 1993 -- The FBI relayed a message to compound member Sherri Jewel from her mother. Sherri Jewell remained inside the compound and died on April 19.

March 16, 1993 -- The FBI delivered five audio cassettes from family members and a tape player into the compound.

March 18 and 19, 1993 -- The FBI broadcast tape recordings from Kathryn Schroeder and Oliver Gyarfas over the loudspeakers into the compound.

March 20, 1993 -- Brad Branch, who left the compound on March 12, was permitted to place a telephone call to Koresh and Schneider.

March 20, 1993 -- The FBI relayed a message to Schneider from his sister.

March 21, 1993 -- The FBI broadcast tape recordings from Kathryn Schroeder and Oliver Gyarfas into the compound.

March 21, 1993 -- The FBI relayed messages to the following compound members from their family members: Mary Gene Borst, Jeff Little, Livingston Malcolm, Melissa Morrison, Judy Schneider, Steve Schneider, Scott Sonobe, David Thibodeau and Margarita Vaega. Thibodeau was the only one of this group who survived the April 19 fire.

March 25, 1993 -- The FBI relayed a message to Livingstone Malcolm from his family. He died in the April 19 fire.

March 25, 1993 -- The FBI relayed a message to Jeff Little from his father. Little died in the April 19 fire.

March 27, 1993 -- The FBI relayed a message to Greg Sommer from a friend. Sommer died in the April 19 fire.

March 28, 1993 -- The FBI played a tape to David Thibodeau from his mother.

March 28, 1993 -- The Davidians sent out another videotape depicting the children.

April 1,1993 -- Schneider placed a cellular telephone call to his sister, without FBI assistance.

C. Miscellaneous Contacts[edit]

In addition to the above contacts with family members and attorneys, the FBI also:

a) Relayed a message from the Davidians to a local radio station on March 12, after the Davidians became upset with information disseminated about them during a call-in show on that station.

b) Permitted various Davidians to speak by phone with a doctor on March 12 regarding their injuries received on February 28.

c) Sent a letter to Koresh from Craig Smith of the Christian Broadcasting Network.

d) Sent messages on March 21 and March 27 to the British citizens inside the compound from the British Consulate in Houston.

e) Sent an audiotape into the compound from Dr. Philip Arnold of the Reunion Institute in Houston, a religious scholar whose views on the Seven Seals and the Book of Revelations had attracted the interest of Schneider and other Davidians.

f) Sent a letter to Koresh on March 27, 1993 from the Chaplin of Baylor University.

D. FBI Contacts With Family Members[edit]

As noted, the FBI received a number of inquiries from family members and associates of the compound residents. Some of the inquiries were from family members concerned about the status of their loved ones inside. Other contacts were from family members and friends volunteering information and insight into the Branch Davidians. The FBI frequently followed up by interviewing those persons. Following is a summary of some of those contacts:

March 1, 1993 -- Kathryn Schroeder's former husband and the father of Scott and Jacob Mabb, called to inquire about the status of his children. He was told that his children had already been released.

March 2, 1993 -- The Texas Rangers interviewed former cult member Donald Bunds, whose family members were still inside the compound. Bunds provided information regarding the layout of the compound, including the locations of underground rooms. The Rangers passed on this information to the FBI.

March 3, 1993 -- Former cult member Katherine Jones, whose family members were still inside the compound, furnished information to the FBI regarding the layout of the compound and the Davidians' food supplies.

March 3, 1993 -- Julia Rosa, the sister of cult members Jim and Rita Riddle, reported to ATF that her mother Myrtle Riddle had just received a phone call from Koresh. Koresh said that he had a "secret" phone line that he was using to call Branch Davidians who were not inside the compound, and that he wanted all the cult members to come back to the compound before "everything happens."

March 3, 1993 -- A friend of Koresh's grandmother called the FBI and said Koresh's grandmother would be willing to talk to Koresh if the FBI thought it would help.

March 8, 1993 -- The daughter-in-law of compound resident Floyd Houtman called the FBI and volunteered to provide information about the Branch Davidians.

March 11, 1993 -- Koresh's grandmother contacted the authorities directly and offered her assistance.

March 18, 1993 -- Neil Vaega's brother submitted to an interview with the FBI and provided background information about Neil and the Branch Davidians.

April 3, 1993 -- The brother of deceased Davidian Perry Jones provided information to the FBI regarding food supplies inside the compound.