On August 4, 1978 Rebecca David checked into a hotel room on the eleventh floor. Her husband had committed suicide just four days earlier. People thought her and their seven children were just trying to get away from the death when they went to stay in a hotel. A few hours after checking in, a crowd gathered on the street below the hotel. Rebecca David’s three older children Elizabeth (15), Josh (10) and Deborah (9) willingly jumped from the 11th floor balcony, plummeting more than one hundred and thirty feet. Rebecca tossed her younger children: Joseph (8) and David (6), Rybecca (5) over the railing. Then she, herself jumped. There was a seventh child, but I couldn’t find the name or age of them.
Somehow, Rachel survived. And she would tell a bizarre story. Her father, Immanuel David was convinced he was a prophet of God or sometimes, that he was God or sometimes that he was Jesus Christ or sometimes the Holy Ghost. He had started a religious sect called the Family of David, of which he was the leader. Rebecca and the children were not to socialize with anyone outside the sect (cult). Rebecca was subjugated to a single role within the family life; care for the children. She wasn’t allowed access to their finances or anything else in their lives. Immanuel controlled all that.
Rachel had never met her grandparents and had been told they were evil because they were non-believers. Her father was being investigated for wire fraud by the FBI. He had committed suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning. People who knew the David’s, said the family was devoted to each other and didn’t know how to continue living once Immanuel died.
Investigators said it was an act of religious zealotry.