Coronial inquest into missing four from Nannup | Day 3

Police clinical psychologist Kris Giesen leaving the coronial inquest in Busselton. Photo by Sophie Elliott.
Police clinical psychologist Kris Giesen leaving the coronial inquest in Busselton. Photo by Sophie Elliott.

Police clinical psychologist Kris Giesen believes that the Nannup cult members are likely dead based on evidence she examined on the group’s disappearance.

A significant factor for Ms Giesen was that Chantelle and Leela McDougall had not been in contact with Ms McDougall’s mother.

In the lead up to the disappearance, Ms Giesen also said that Antonio Popic had settled his affairs, which suggested he was no longer here.

Ms McDougall and Mr Popic were part of an internet-based cult called Truth Fellowship led by Gary Felton (aka Simon Kadwell), they all lived together on a property in Nannup with Ms McDougall’s six year old daughter Leela.

It was revealed by witnesses that the group had a suicide pact but no evidence of human remains has ever been found after they abandoned their Nannup home.

Ms Geisen said at the inquest that Ms McDougall was a perfect candidate to follow the cult-leader because she rarely challenged Mr Felton in any way.

She said that Mr Popic had immersed himself in Mr Felton’s beliefs similar to Ms McDougall but to a lesser extent.

The Truth Fellowship believed that people live on a third dimensional plane and a few chosen people would travel to other universes or move to a fifth dimension, Ms Giesen said.

To do this, Ms Giesen said they believed they must leave their bodies and drift off to sleep, which was another way of saying suicide, that they must die.

Ms Giesen said based on their philosophies, and comments made by Mr Felton in online forums in the lead up to their disappearance, the group had planned to end their lives.

She did not believe that Mr Felton’s would consider the act as murder because he was so narcissistic he would not feel guilt.

Ms Giesen described Mr Felton as a person who exerted control by isolating and manipulating people.

She said it was possible Mr Felton was paranoid, delusional, believed he had spiritual superiority, was self-righteous and could have been a psychopath, schizoid or suffering from bipolar.

Ms Geisen said the Brazil story was clumsy and made up to avoid scrutiny and questions and it was possible the group never travelled far from Nannup.

She thought police may have missed the location of their bodies during the search and there was no longer the ability to find them.

When questioned by Coroner Barry King if the group could still be alive she said if Mr Felton was still alive he would have popped up in online forums although it was possible he could be using a false alias.

She said it would not be hard for Mr Felton to assume another identity and start over again where no-one knew him.

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This story Cult leader was ‘delusional’ first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.


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