DENVER -- A Denver County grand jury Thursday indicted nine people for kidnapping and attempting to deprogram a young Swedish member of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church.
The church member, Britta Adolfsson Hitchler, was kidnapped from the Unification Church center in Denver May 26. She escaped June 2 in Lyons, Kan.
Hitchler's parents, physicist Tord Adolfsson and his wife, Marget, allegedly paid to have the woman kidnapped for fear she was going to travel to South Korea for a mass marriage ceremony. They were not named in the indictment.
Indicted Thursday on charges of second-degree kidnapping, conspiracy and false imprisonment were: Dennis G. Whelan, 52, of Omaha, Neb.; Jim L. Hilzendeger, 27, Omaha; Lawrence G. Whelan, 24, Omaha; Patrick A. Kinney, 24, Omaha; Judith R. Kowal, 25, Omaha; Robert L. Brandyberry, 40, believed to be from Ohio; Deann Reher, 30, Denver, and Linda Miller, 34, of Douglas County, Colo.
Diane Balkin of the Denver District Attorney's Office said all nine had agreed to surrender next Tuesday. A court date will be set later.
The indictment said Hilzendeger, Lawrence Whelan and Kinney grabbed Hitchler outside the church and dragged her to a van driven by Dennis Whelan. Hinchman was also inside the van. Dennis Whelan reportedly was the leader.
Hitchler was taken to the home of Linda Miller after the kidnapping, where Hitchler's parents were waiting.
Two days later, Hitchler was transferred to a remote mountain home near Grand Lake, Colo., owned by Miller and her husband, the indictment said. Later the same day she was taken to a nearby, smaller, cabin that had been rented.
Hitchler was kept in the cabin by Brandyberry, Reher, Lawrence Whelan, Kinney, Hinchman and Kowal until June 1, the indictment said. During that time, she was forced to go to the bathroom in a bucket in a closet and was confined to a small bedroom with only a mattress on the floor, the indictment said. The windows had blankets nailed over them, it said.
On June 1, Hitchler was taken in a van to another remote cabin near Eagle, Colo., but the cabin apparently was unsatisfactory and she was taken to Lyons, Kan., arriving on June 2. Hitchler was placed in a second floor apartment provided by Robert and Jan Tucker, the indictment said.
During the day on June 2, all her abductors fell asleep and Hitchler was able to remove a screen from a second-story bathroom window and jump out. She ran down the road and flagged down a Kansas Highway patrolman, the indictment said.