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If you’ve been watching Waco: American Apocalypse, you might be wondering where is Kathy Shroeder now?
Released to coincide with the 30th anniversary of this national tragedy, the three-part Netflix series is directed by acclaimed filmmaker Tiller Russell (Night Stalker) and features exclusive access to recently unearthed videotapes filmed inside the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit, as well as raw news footage never released to the American public, and FBI recordings.
As the leader of the Branch Davidians, David Koresh (born Vernon Howell) was groomed to be the successor of the group by the Branch Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association’s founder’s wife Lois Roden. He released the “New Light” audiotape, where he told the group that God told him to procreate with the women (those who were also underage) in the group, and claimed that God had told him to start building an “Army for God.”
The Waco Tribune-Herald published “The Sinful Messiah” which reported on allegations that Howell (who legally changed his name to David Koresh) physically abused children in the compound and committed statutory rape. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) was then notified that a UPS driver had a package broken open on delivery to the Branch Davidians that revealed around six grenades. The ATF obtained a warrant and executed their search on February 28, 1993. The Branch Davidians were notified of the search beforehand and shots were fired and four agents were killed. The FBI took control and the siege lasted 51 days to end on April 19, 1993. A majority of the Davidians died in the Waco Siege while some of the survivors were arrested and put on trial afterward. One of those includes Branch Davidian Kathy Schroeder. So where is she now? Read more below to find out.
Where is Kathy Schroeder now?
Where is Kathy Schroeder now? According to TheCinemaholic, the former Branch Davidian currently lives in Tampa, Florida, and is still in contact with her kids. She also had another child in 1999 with another boyfriend and still devotes her time to God.
Before Koresh’s takeover of the Branch Davidians, Kathy moved to Waco with her husband Michael and her three children from her previous marriage. They were devoted to David even as marriages were dissolved within the community in favor of women marrying David because he was proclaimed the next Messiah.
During the FBI siege of Mount Carmel, the Branch Davidians’ compound outside of Waco TX, her husband was killed. Kathy was instructed to throw a grenade at the room and kill herself and the remaining people in the room if things continued to go south. Eventually, Kathy’s kids were let out of the compound into police custody. Kathy left the compound after she was talked through by an FBI negotiator and felt like her youngest son needed her. She was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison but was given a reduced sentence for testifying under oath about her experience in the Branch Davidians.
30 years later, Kathy came forward to tell her side of the story in Waco: American Apocalypse. She defended David’s actions. “People think that a man having Sex with a bunch of underaged girls is a crime,” she said in the Netflix production. “And in conventional wisdom, this could probably be very well true. However, these weren’t underaged girls because you come of age at 12. All these girls were adults in our belief system.” She continued, “Every single one of us was married to David because David was our Christ giving us the truths from God. The whole time we were having sex it was a bible study.” She gave even more detail about it, “He did it to give me that one little bit of tenderness with my God.”
Koresh was looking towards the Second Coming or Armageddon. He told his followers that the purpose of his Second Coming was to supervise Armageddon and make difficult choices on Judgement day. He told them he needed to indulge in all the sins so that when the end of the world came, he could speak from experience. He was alleged to be involved in multiple incidents of physical and sexual abuse of children, including fathering children with underage girls in the cult.
When asked by PrimeTimer about hearing the details for the first time, director Tiller Russell explained, “It was intergalactic head-spinning when I heard it. It was one of the many moments when I thought, ‘Wow, this is not what I thought was going to come out of this person’s mouth.’ I think the point she’s trying to make in that is – it’s almost like the Branch Davidians who believed David Koresh’s theology, it was like entering into another universe with its own set of morals and rules and laws that were, as far as they were concerned, the dictates of god, not the laws of man.”
He continued, “For us it seems just absolutely like insanity to hear it, but at the same time, I didn’t want to shy away from it because the truth of the matter is, David Koresh was a pedophile who was having sex with underage girls. And yet you could feel the weird love and respect these people, who were inside it, had for him, although it was conflicting and confused. I was astounded, frankly, by that, and I felt it belonged in [the series] in the same way Heather [Jones] getting to hear her last phone call with her father belonged in. Those things that are provocative and shocking are also intensely important.”
On why he wanted to leave Kathy’s comments in, he responded, “The fundamental approach of nonfiction is you have this incredible mountain of material, and you’re carving away everything except the story you want to tell. But that comment was so astounding to me, and it made me incredibly uncomfortable, and because it made me uncomfortable, I felt like it belonged in the story.”
After the siege on April 19, 1993, investigators pulled 72 bodies, including the remains of 17 children. “The condition of the body was about the condition of the rest of the bodies that were there, extensive burning,” Pareya said of David Koresh.