TELLURIDE (AP) — A Colorado woman will spend the rest of her life behind bars for killing her two daughters after she and other members of a doomsday religious group banished them to a car without food or water because the girls were thought to have been impure.
Nashika Bramble was sentenced to life in prison without parole Tuesday in the deaths of Makayla Roberts, 10, and Hannah Marshall, 8. She was convicted in July of two counts of first-degree murder.
The sisters’ bodies were found in September 2017 in a car parked on a farm near Norwood, a town of about 500 people 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of the Telluride ski resort. Heat, dehydration and starvation killed the girls, and they had been dead for several weeks before their bodies were found, authorities said.
Bramble was a member of a religious group that moved to the property earlier that year, court documents say.
Investigators say they believe the group’s spiritual leader, Madani Ceus of Haiti, declared that the two girls were possessed by unclean spirits during a past life and ordered them kept in a car without food or water for days as the others waited for the apocalypse before the 2017 solar eclipse.
Ceus has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of child abuse. She is set to go to trial in January.
The farm’s owner, Frederick “Alec” Blair, told investigators he met the group at a gas station outside Grand Junction and invited them to use his land. He soon joined them in living on the property in tents and cars, according to court documents.
Blair pleaded guilty in May 2018 to one count of being an accessory to a crime. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 31 and faces up to 12 years in prison.
Another group member, Ashford Archer, was convicted in March of two counts of fatal child abuse and one count of being an accessory to a crime. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison.
The fifth member charged, Ika Eden of Jamaica, has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial.