On August 1, 1978 Immanuel David, 39, drove into a canyon in Utah and slipped a hose over the tailpipe of his truck and placed the other end of the hose in the cab of the truck. David was being investigated by the FBI for wire transfer fraud. He also thought he was God, the Holy Ghost, and the second coming of Jesus Christ and had started his own religious sect called the Family of David. Three days later, his wife Rebecca David(38) took their six children to a hotel in downtown Utah. They went up to a viewing balcony on the eleventh floor. Once up there, the three oldest children Rachel(15), Josh(10), and Debra(9) jumped over the railing. Then Rebecca began throwing the younger children over the edge. Joseph(8), David(6), and Rybecca(5) all screamed and fought not to fall. Once the six children were on the pavement, Rebecca David jumped to her death.
Elizabeth David (who went by her middle name Rachel) survived after suffering critical injuries from her fall and spent a month in a coma. Once she was awake and capable of talking to police, investigators began to put together the events that lead to the deaths of her family on August 4, 1978. Rachel told police that her family lived an isolated life, not allowed close friends outside their religious sect. And Rebecca had never had access to any of the family’s financial accounts and with her father, Immanuel dead, the family didn’t know what they were going to do. Rebecca and the older children agreed they couldn’t live without Immanuel and decided to die to be reunited with him.
Friends of the family, told investigators that Immanuel was probably mentally ill, and he had expected full subservience by Rebecca and their children. Rebecca was described as shy and quiet. And while friends were shocked over the incident, they weren’t entirely surprised by what Rachel said when she awoke from her coma.
Investigators eventually labeled the murders and suicides an act of religious zealotry. There were some difficulties researching this case. It’s not uncommon for people to revise their “opinions” of people after they are dead. I could not find an “official” source for the rumors that Rebecca David might have been mentally challenged or mentally ill, but friends and family said both at different times, after the murders/suicide.
Immanuel David’s legacy is that as of 2010, his religious sect was still alive with followers in Spokane, Washington and Boulder, Colorado. While Rebecca David will always be remembered as the woman who convinced her children to commit suicide and when the little ones were too young, she murdered them before killing herself.