MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA—Jamaican cult leader Kevin Smith, who has been in custody since last Sunday after two of his followers were killed in a “human sacrifice” ritual, has died in a car crash.
The accident took place on Monday morning while police were transporting Smith from Montego Bay to Kingston where he was set to be formally charged in connection with the murders.
Head of Jamaica’s Constabulary Forces communication unit, Senior Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, confirmed the death of Smith and a police officer along Jamaica’s Bog Walk main road.
She told The Daily Beast: “They were taking him to Kingston to be formally charged; there was an accident and all four people in the vehicle received serious injuries. Two died, a police constable and Mr. Smith and the other two police officers are in critical condition.”
As head of his Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries, Smith was arrested on Oct. 17 after police swooped down on his church in Montego Bay in response to a report that a human sacrifice was taking place in the church, where more than 100 followers had gathered, dressed in white robes.
According to survivors who spoke to local Jamaican media outlets, the ritual involved senior members of the church “stabbing” and “slashing” several congregants who were told they’d be embarking on a “heavenly journey.” Two of the church members were killed over the course of the ritual, and one was killed during the police raid on the property.
“When I saw blood and the young lady fell, I said ‘This is it for me,’” one member who managed to escape the church told the Jamaican Observer.
On the day of the gruesome ordeal, Smith had posted to Facebook asking his congregants to leave their cellphones at home before heading to the church, warning them of an incoming “flood.” One of the members had reportedly snuck a phone in and called police after witnessing the horror of another congregant getting killed.
“It is traumatizing. It traumatized me so much I’ve not been sleeping or eating well. I’ve not left home to do no business because of what is taking place,” one neighbor who knew Smith told The Daily Beast at the time.
Milton Ricketts, another source who knew Smith well, had told The Daily Beast that the troubling activities at Smith’s church had been “going on for years.” “The people have been brainwashed, including the children, and they have been taught things which are unscriptural and they have suffered damage in their soul.”
According to Ricketts, Smith would demand his followers to “take a knee,” when addressing him, asking them to refer to him as “Crown Bishop… at all times.”
A Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries pamphlet obtained by The Daily Beast introduced Smith as “former crown Ambassador of the Throne of Nubia Sheba, globe traveller to over 100 countries worldwide and Yeshu’a Hamashiach end time Prophet to the Nations.”
Police had previously told The Daily Beast that they were investigating “a case of double murder and three counts of wounding,” in connection with the Oct. 17 incident and more than 40 church members have been arrested over the ordeal so far. The police probe had also involved searches of two of Smith’s luxury homes before he died on Monday.