In 2011, former cult leader Roch Theriault was stabbed to death in prison. His murderer turned himself in and said “That piece of shit is down on the range. Here’s the knife, I’ve sliced him up.” Sounds brutal, right? Well, if you knew what Theriault did to his cult members, you might think this murder wasn’t brutal enough. Just a warning, things get very gruesome very quickly.
Like most cults that were founded back in the 1970s, Roch Theriault attracted members with the promise of peaceful communal life. The members left their jobs and homes to follow Theriault to listen to his speeches and live a sin-free life. Of course, it was required that they isolate themselves from their loved ones in order to truly devote themselves to the group. Theriault chose a mountainside that he called “Eternal Mountain.” Like many cult leaders, he believed the apocalypse was coming and wanted to prepare his followers for this by living away on this commune. Well, the commune that the followers had to tirelessly build themselves while their leaders relaxed and watched them work. He named the group the Ant Hill Kids because they mimicked ants making an anthill during construction.
Things started innocently enough. They lived peacefully in their little town and sold baked goods. But slacking sales brought out Theriault’s dark side. He would beat his followers if they didn’t bring in enough money. He started demanding that his name was Moses and that he was a prophet. Although drugs and alcohol were banned, he became an alcoholic. and the abuse inflicted on his members dramatically increased.
Theriault wanted to expand the community, so he married nine women and wound up fathering over 20 children with them. As his drinking problem worsened, so did the abuse against the members, including his wives and children. If they upset him or went against him, he would force them to break their own legs with sledgehammers, suspend them from the ceiling, eat dead mice, and break other members’ toes. Sometimes, he would defecate on them and pluck out their body hairs one by one. He also physically and sexually abused his children.
When Theriault began performing surgery on his members, that’s when things became deadly and even more dangerous than before. One of his wives was complaining of stomach pains, so naturally, he decided to operate on her. So using amateur tools such as kitchen utensils and olive oils, he gave her an enema and then cut into her. He took out parts of her intestines, then she was crudely sewn up. Unsurprisingly, she did the next day. Since he believed he was a prophet, he had himself and other members ejaculate into a hole in her skull in an attempt to resurrect her. Again, unsurprisingly, she remained dead. While other members escaped his anesthesia-less surgeries with missing fingers or toes, this member lost her life. He also tried to circumcise his children and they died as well.
Luckily for some of his children, they were removed from the commune by social workers. Unfortunately for everyone else, he was not arrested or held accountable for his crimes and abuse. It was only when one woman had her arm and breasts amputated, her genitals blow-torched, and her head beaten with an ax that Theriault’s reign came to an end. Despite her serious injuries, she managed to escape the commune, and Theriault was convicted to a life sentence.
So yeah, remember when I said that you might think his murder wasn’t brutal enough? It makes sense now, doesn’t it? The abuse that the members of the Ant Hill Kids faced is some of the most fucked up, brutal acts that I’ve read about. When Theriault’s murderer called him a “piece of shit,” that was a little bit of an understatement.
I didn’t include all of the details here, so you can read more about the Ant Hill Kids below. I especially recommend the Morbidoloy article: