4 From Extremist Cult Allegedly Kidnapped Hudson Valley Children
Four alleged members of an extremist "cult" are accused of kidnapping two Hudson Valley children.
On Friday in White Plains Federal Court, Nachman Helbrans, Mayer Rosner, Aaron Rosner and Jacob Rosner were all charged with kidnapping two children from Sullivan County and unlawfully transporting them to Mexico.
With the help of Mexican law enforcement, the children were recovered Friday morning in the town of Tenango del Air in Mexico, officials say. Plans are underway to bring them back to the United States and reunite them with their mother.
Fourteen-year-old Yante Teller and her 12-year old brother Chaim Teller were previously last seen getting into a vehicle in front of their Fallsburg home and the car driving away last month.
The children were staying with their mother in Sullivan County. Six weeks prior, the mother fled with her children from an organization in Guatemala called Lev Tahor, a Jewish extremist cult, according to the indictment.
News reports indicate children in Lev Tahor are often subject to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. The mother was previously a voluntary member of Lev Tahor and her father was its founder. According to the mother, the new leader of Lev Tahor, her brother, Helbrans, is more extreme than her father, causing her to flee the group, officials say.
According to the indictment, Helbrans was seen on surveillance footage with the children an airport outside Scranton, PA, on the day of the kidnapping. In the footage, they are wearing modern clothing inconsistent with the clothing typically worn by members of Lev Tahor. Mayer Rosner participated in the planning for the kidnapping. Jacob Rosner, who is considered within Lev Tahor to be the husband of the 14-year old, also participated in the planning conversations for the kidnapping and purchased the clothing worn by Helbrans and the children. Aaron Rosner helped fund the kidnapping and organized conference calls with several co-conspirators over the course of the kidnapping during which co-conspirators discussed hotels in Mexico as well as purchases of flights, bus tickets, credit cards and food for the children.
All four face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
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