Wisconsin State Journal from Madison, Wisconsin on November 25, 1978 · 1
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Wisconsin State Journal from Madison, Wisconsin · 1

Madison, Wisconsin
Issue Date:
Saturday, November 25, 1978
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O Saturday November 25, 1978 Madison, Wisconsin 36 pages 20 cents yy(oDD(o (d(g(ofth GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) -U.S. soldiers removing bodies from Jonestown's field of death uncovered "more and more and more" corpses of American cultists and their children Friday. The grim count rose to 775, and about 180 victims of the suicide-mur-. der ritual last Saturday were under the age of 15, U.S. officials said. That was nearly double the 405 reported earlier from the settlement of the California-based Peoples Temple hacked out of the jungle in this former British colony on the northeastern shoulder of South America. Many bodies found Friday were of children covered by the corpses of their parents, U.S. Embassy officials said, and the toll could increase as the layers of bodies are removed. The discovery was the tragic solution to a puzzle that had baffled investigators since the mass suicides 'Not baby sifters,' official says of cult WASHINGTON (AP) - State Department officials reacted angrily Friday to the large number of critics who claim the U.S. government might have prevented the mass murder-suicide at Jonestown, Guyana, which claimed hundreds of lives last week-; end. The officials cite a series of interviews conducted at Jonestown during the past year by U.S. consular officers. The interviews suggested that the agricultural commune led by the Rev. Jim Jones was little more than an off-beat religious hideaway. According to the State Department, the officers came up empty-handed every time they tried to corroborate allegations of mental, physical or sexual abuse made by relatives and friends of the Peoples Temple cultists. "We're not baby sitters," fumed one official, when asked whether preventive action should have been taken at Jonestown. Since the disaster occurred last Saturday, some friends and relatives of the cult victims have complained Sandbags keep spilled molasses away from river COLUMBUS City workers sandbagged the Crawfish River here Friday afternoon in a successful attempt to keep a derailed freight train's cargo of 540,000 pounds of molasses from flowing into the river. The 29-car Milwaukee Road freight train derailed on the east side of Columbus in Dodge County at 4:11 p.m. Friday, spilling its cargo of molasses, sugar, fertilizer, potash, wood and paper. Authorities said there were no inju-' ries, and it would take a day or more to clear the tracks. Both the eastbound and westbound tracks were blocked, halting Amtrak service. Highway 151-73 was blocked for about four hours, according to Columbus police officer Rick Sewell. The Department of Natural Resources investigated for possible hazardous chemicals in the spill but found none. Of the 29 freight cars, 26 were fully loaded. Three of them contained molasses. The cause of the derailment was not immediately known. Fuel aid By Steven T. Lovejoy Of The State Journal Tighter eligibility requirements for emergency fuel assistance programs in Dane County could pose problems this winter for persons who are just above federal poverty guidelines, a Community Action Commission official said Friday. Low income residents of Dane County could be eligible for interest-free loans of up to $200 per family to help pay their fuel bills this winter. The state-county fuel loan program will provide $2 million for loans to Wisconsin residents this year, up substantially from the $600,000 that was available through the program last year. Dane County has a total of $84,000 available for loans. The loan program, which will be coordinated by the Community Action Commission, requires a payback of first came to light Sunday. It was thought then that hundreds of residents of the farming commune must have fled into the surrounding forest rather than take poison with the rest of the Rev. Jim Jones' fanatical followers. Deputy Prime Minister Ptolemy Reid told Guyana's Parliament on Friday the count of 775 bodies left 103 sect members unaccounted for. He said the government believed 950 members of the U.S. cult were in Guyana, and 72 are known to be alive here 32 from Jonestown and the others from the cult's Georgetown center. Guyanese soldiers and police, with "valuable assistance from the United States," are continuing "a diligent search" for settlers who may have fled into the jungle, Reid said. Five U.S. Air Force helicopters with loudspeakers flew search patterns over the jungle Friday near the settlement, but spotted no one. The i Z I John Bushnell that their warnings to the State Department about repressive activities went unheeded. Earlier this week, Rep. Clement Zablocki, D-Wis., chairman of the House International Relations Committee, said his panel will look into the department's handling of the situation. Officials responding to criticism said that civil libertarians in the United States would have protested bitterly if there were any hints that the department was trying to break up the commune. Other officials pointed out that American religious organizations are protected by tradition and the First Amendment of the Constitution. The Justice Department says it ruled out an investigation of the Peoples Temple requested last year by Rep. Leo Ryan, D-Calif., who was murdered in Jonestown because it would have been a violation of constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion. State Department official John Bushnell estimated the U.S. government so far has spent $2 million to S3 million, not counting military salaries, on the body removal operation, which he said had the highest priority of Guyana authorities. The government is under fire from some relatives, who say it should pay, for transporting bodies from Dover Air Force Base, Del., to the victims' hometowns, and from other quarters which complain the government is overly generous in flying the bodies from Guyana to Dover. Bushnell said the government normally does not pay for repatriation of remains when an American dies overseas, but in this instance, "the use of American military resources seemed appropriate." Families must pay Turn to Page 2, Col. 1 I 1. rules may cause hardship $15 per month or 5 percent of monthly income whichever is greater. But, while the funding for the loan program is up, the eligiblity requirements are much stiffer in Dane County than they were last year when the state allowed each county to set local eligibility guidelines. This year, the state set the eligibility limits at 125 percent of federal poverty guidelines. In Dane County last year, the limit was set at 195 percent of federal poverty levels. That means a non-farm family of four with an income of $11,700 could have been eligible for a loan last year. Under the new limits, the same family would have to make $7,800 per year or less to be eligible for a fuel loan. Jay Vercauteren, CAC energy program director, said Friday the rules could put tremendous pressure on Dane County families who are just above 125 percent of poverty level. Vercauteren said there is a possi choppers broadcast messages asking any Americans in the area to move to a clearing for rescue. Among the survivors are three Americans arrested as suspects in the Saturday attack on an investigative party led by Rep. Leo Ryan D-Calif., that preceded the Jonestown suicides and killings. Ryan, three American newsmen accompanying him and a woman cultist wanting to leave the settlement were murdered in the attack at the Port Kaituma airstrip shortly after they left Jonestown. A U.S. Embassy source said it was not until Friday morning, after three days of working at the camp, that American military teams removing bodies found corpses in one area were stacked in "several layers." 'More and more and . . .' The soldiers began clearing out what they thought would be the final group of bodies, said Air Force Capt. John Moscatelli. "We got into an area on a different side of the temple and found more and more bodies . . . and we found more and more and more." The "temple" apparently refers to the camp's central pavilion. Moscatelli said said late Friday that bodies had been found stacked three deep in some places, with blankets between them. He said authorities could not explain why. Embassy spokeswoman Patricia Moser said, "Many children were found under the bodies of their parents and were not counted originally." Moscatelli told reporters that as far as could be determined, the newly found victims, like nearly all of those counted earlier, died by swallowing poison doled out by Jones' medical team. How could some 360 bodies have been overlooked? "When we were out there originally, there were bodies under bodies as we were working, but we were working on a total estimated count," Moscatelli said. "That count had been approximately 410 and we figured there may be a few more hidden under other bodies." All in camp A U.S. Embassy source said no bodies were found outside the camp's main clearing and Moscatelli reported there were "no indications" of any survivors in the jungle. Reid told Parliament that some of the missing cultists possibly were traveling inside the country at the time of the death ritual. Moscatelli said nearly 500 bodies have been flown by helicopter to the Georgetown airport from Jonestown, 150 miles north of Georgetown, others are being placed in rubberized body bags at the settlement and "more may be expected to be found." The bodies were being loaded onto Air Force transports and flown to Dover Air Force Base, Del. So far 170 bodies have been identified by the U.S. military specialists, including Jones's corpse. Man By George Hesselberg Of The State Journal Is everybody happy? Paul Rothstein apparently is. He got a $69 bus ticket to Los Angeles, paid for by the city, and $45 in cash from his landlord. Curtis Castleberg apparently is. He got rid of Rothstein, a tenant in one of Castleberg's apartments on Price Place. The Police Department is. It bility that the state loan program may be augmented by a $200-million federal grant program through the Community Services Administration but that program still requires congressional action late in December or early in January. Last year's $200-million federal grant program provided $241,000 in aid for Dane County residents. In the interim, he said, Dane County agencies have only limited funds available for fuel assistance grants. At the moment, Vercauteren said, the CAC has only about $6,000 available for emergency fuel assistance grants. That should last through December, he said. He said Aid in Crisis also has a few thousand dollars available for emergency assistance. While the state Public Service Commission this week approved a moratorium on utility disconnections J? ' -' . -x 'Zz-4r 1 ' 'j v53&St - Their arms around a small child, the bodies of a man and woman were found in Jonestown. APWirephoto Jonestown decafth rifiucal described by survivor GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) -A man who saw hundreds die in the biggest mass suicide in recent history said Friday there was some hysteria and confusion as parents saw their children writhe in the throes of death from cyanide poisoning at the Jonestown settlement. But Odell Rhodes of Detroit said most people quietly waited their own turn to die. He said he saw some of the nearly 800 who died of poisoning willingly swallow cyanide or have it administered forcibly. Rhodes said there was no panic or emotional outburst as people stood in line to swallow poison. He said he escaped the ceremony by slipping through a ring of armed guards and into the jungle. "A lot of people walked around like they were in a trance. I don't know if they even tried to get away," said Rhodes, 36, who said he escaped about 20 minutes after the poisoning began. "There wasn't that much noise,"he out of town, happily solved a landlord-tenant dispute. The city Welfare Department apparently is. It Issued a $95 voucher to Rothstein to pay for his rent from Nov. 27 to Dec. 27, but got the voucher back when Rothstein struck his get-out-of-town deal with the police and Castleberg. This all happened Wednesday afternoon, in time for the police to speed to the Greyhound Bus Station, buy Rothstein the ticket, make sure he got on the bus, and make sure the bus drove away with Rothstein In it. if they threaten the health or life of a customer, CAC and Dane County Emergency Planning Department officials noted that does not cover the possible cut-off of fuel oil and propane supplies. The two agencies said it is "conceivable that in a couple of weeks we could be calling for private donations for specific cases of need which do not fit the existing guidelines, or during a temporary gap in federal funding." The agencies said persons who are running out of fuel in the winter months should contact their town, village or city relief director. Persons who cannot contact their relief directors can use the CAC Energy Hotline, 266-6506. The CAC administers the loan program for persons within the poverty guidelines. The Dane County Sheriffs office, 266-4948, will also direct calls to the appropriate agency for fuel emergency .situations. : II Ill KlIIIIlM Odell Rhodes said. "Children were crying and going through convulsions and some of their grandparents and parents were getting hysterical as they saw their children die. "But basically a lot of the people were sitting, especially the senior people just waiting and watching," he said. Rhodes said the founder and spirit- Castleberg Wednesday afternoon was trying to evict Rothstein from the apartment. He had changed the lock on the door and had called for police help in anticipation of problems. Rothstein showed up with a city housing and welfare representative and with the $95 rent voucher. While arguing about his right to keep the apartment, which according to police reports was empty of furnishings and clothing, Rothstein made his deal: If the city would spring for the ticket out of town, and the landlord would give him whatever cash he had, Rothstein would leave. Officers Charlene Reott and James Rohde thought that would be a good deal, since the city would lose $69 instead of $95. Their superior officer, Lt. Ted Bal-istreri, also thought it was a bargain, figuring it would save the city the difference, or $26. Castleberg dished out $45 cash. After a routine check, New York City police turned out a report that Rothstein was wanted there for kidnapping, but then wired that they didn't want him after all. So Reott and Rohde and Rothstein went to the bus station, and, according to Rohde's report, "We personally put him on the bus and watched the bus as it pulled out of the station." He got a ticket to ride, one way, to Los Angeles. Today's chuckle A modern pioneer is a young mother who manages to get through a rainy Saturday with the television set out of order. ual guru of the Peoples Temple colony, the Rev. Jim Jones, called a general meeting at the camp assembly hall and told people the time had come for mass death. It was called just after U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan left the settlement Saturday and took some cult members with him. Ryan and several others were slain at the strip by gun-wielding cult members. The "defectors" would never reach America, Jones told the crowd as the bizarre ritual of death began, according to Rhodes. Jones asked if there was dissent, and one woman said death was not the only option. She suggested a move to the Soviet Union or Cuba, Rhodes said. But the gunmen returned from the airstrip with reports of the killing and Jones said it was too late for anything but suicide, Rhodes said. He quoted Jones as saying people had been killed, and everyone present would have to commit suicide. Asked why Jones Issued the order for mass death, Rhodes said the charismatic leader had warned his followers if some were allowed to leave, then family members would come from the United States and take others away. He had a lot of ego and had to be in control," Rhodes said. "The decision (for suicide) was based on the fact that he felt he was losing control. I'm just trying to figure out why those people would voluntarily kill themselves." He said the camp's doctor and nurses brought out several plastic containers of a liquid that investigators have since said contained deadly cyanide. "They would draw up an amount (of poison) into syringes," Rhodes Turn to Page 2, Col. 4 Inside Today's weather: Continued cool Partly tloudy to clear today, In-creating tloudlnett tonight. High In th low 30t today. For mora woathor Information, turn to Pago to. Section 1 People 5 Religion S-7 Editorials 8 Records 10 Weather 10 Section 2 Sports Section 3 Look Comics 2 TVradio 3 Section 4 Citystate Movie times 3 Death notices... 4 Want ads S C 4

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