Tuesday, May 14, 2013
November 24, 1978, UPI
November 24, 1978, UPI - Beaver County (Pa.) Times, page A-1, Jones double theory scratched – Survivors swallowed by jungle, [Continued page A-3]
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (UPI) --- In the end, the Rev. Jim Jones practiced what he so grimly preached. His body, positively identified by fingerprints, was among the hundreds flown home to the United States Thursday, scotching speculation he escaped from the jungle commune where 408 cultists obeyed his call for "revolutionary suicide."
Jones' casket, marked simply "Rev. Jimmie Jones, 13-B," arrived with 80 other aluminum "transfer boxes" aboard an Air Force C-141 cargo plane on a dreary Thanksgiving Day at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
Jones body was on the second of the flights bringing home the 408 victims of Saturday's mass suicide ritual at the Peoples Temple commune in Jonestown, Guyana.
By early today more than 200 bodies had arrived at Dover, and Air Force sources said they hoped to have all the bodies at the base later today.
As soon as Jones's casket arrived, 10 FBI fingerprint specialists verified the body marked 13-B was indeed Jones, ending speculation that it might have been the body of a double.
By late Thursday, all the bodies, bloated from days under the steamy tropical sun, had been removed from the Jonestown commune to Georgetown for transport to the United States aboard the aircraft shuttling between North and South America.
The grim collection of bodies completed, Guyanese authorities aided by American military personnel pressed on with the hear-futile search for the hundreds of people reported to have fled the commune to escape the suicide ritual in which 405 of Jones followers drank a deadly cyanide potion while three others died of gunshot wounds.
One family that did survive painted a harrowing picture of Jones' personality and life at his jungle commune.
"Jimmie Jones was terrible. I saw him beat people when they said they wanted to go home," said Brenda Parks of Ukiah, Calif.
Miss Parks' brother Gerald Parks said Jones used to preach that the only "true way to die was through revolutionary suicide." He said Jones often discussed suicide with his sect.
He said cultists who disobeyed Jones were punished and sometimes placed in bondage and that "the treatment we got there were just atrocious."
Thus far, only 39 of the cultists who escaped the suicide ritual have reached Georgetown and there were growing fears that few if any more of those who fled into the dense jungle could have survived its deadly perils---jaguars, scorpions, vampire bats; pools of quicksand and rivers infested with flesh-eating piranha fish.
The Guyanese government, stung by foreign press criticism, once again sent helicopters equipped with loudspeakers over the rain forests Thursday to tell any survivors within earshot that they were safe.
American lawyer Mark Lane, among those who escaped, said more than 400 members of the commune fled into the jungle and that he doubted that many could have survived. Lane also had expressed belief earlier that Jones, 46, escaped death and might have fled with the commune's treasury.
Former cult members in San Francisco said they feared Jones directed the mass suicide of his followers and then fled with a "revenge squad" of armed zealots bent on killing the people who had brought on his downfall.
They said Jones often used look-alikes to stand-in for him at rituals, and expressed the belief that the body visually identified as his was really that of a double.
The FBI fingerprint report ended that speculation.
Identification of the other bodies proceeded more slowly in Air Force Base's huge, one-story mortuary that reeked of embalming fluids and the stench of decomposing bodies.
November 24, 1978, UPI - Beaver County (Pa.) Times, page A-10, Lawyer claims 400 still lost in jungle; Suicides termed mass murder,
November 24, 1978, UPI - Beaver County (Pa.) Times, page A-10, Ex-roommate says Jones was weirdo,
November 24, 1978, UPI - Beaver County (Pa.) Times, page A-10, Terror: Survivors recall havoc of Jonestown,