INTERVIEW: Church Of Wells Elder Discusses Former Fayetteville Woman Leaving Church, Calling 911
FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – A 28-year-old Arkansas woman has been reunited with her family after spending nearly two years at a church in Wells, Texas, authorities said.
Catherine Grove, a former nursing student in Fayetteville, was reunited with her father, Andy Grove, about 1:20 a.m. on Friday (April 3) at the Angelina County, Texas, Sheriff’s Department, said Capt. Alton Lenderman. The woman was uninjured. She returned with her father to Arkansas early Friday.
In September 2013, Grove’s parents, Andy and Patty Grove, told reporters they were worried their daughter had been brainwashed by those belonging to the Church of Wells. She had gone missing from Fayetteville in July 2013, according to the website of the University Baptist Church in Fayetteville.
According to a 2013 report in the Texas Observer, the Church of Wells is an evangelical church “born of discontent with mainstream Christianity.”
Authorities located Catherine Grove after she phoned 911 about 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, saying she was walking on a road near Wells, Texas. A deputy responding to the call took Grove to the Sheriff’s Department in Lufkin, Lenderman said. Wells is 17 miles north of Lufkin.
Here is a transcript of part of the call Grove made to 911:
Dispatcher: ‘911, Sheriff`s Office… Hello?’
Grove: ‘Um, I need some… I need somebody to pick me up.’
Dispatcher: ‘Where are you?’
Grove: ‘I`m sorry?’
Dispatcher: ‘Where are you?’
Grove: ‘Um… Um… I`m… On the highway… I-69.’
Listen to the rest of the call below.
Sean Morris, one of the three elders at the Church of Wells, said church members offered to give Grove a ride.
“I know that she was upset because of some disagreement that she had with one of the individuals in the church,” Morris said. “And as she often does when she’s not yielding her soul to Christ and trusting in Him she will be rash with her behavior and uncalculated with her decisions. And I’m not certain that she knew what she was doing necessarily, but I want to say that we don’t condone that kind of behavior and we did offer to give her a ride anywhere that she wanted to go when we perceived that she was upset and that she was going and walking and was going to make a scene in this small town.”
Grove was not talkative when questioned by law enforcement officials, Lenderman said. She told Lenderman she was hungry, so he got her an order of fries and orange juice from a nearby Burger King, he said.
Lenderman said in trying to bond with her, he told her about his own daughter, adding that he wanted to help Grove. She responded by telling Lenderman that he and his daughter were possessed by a demon.
According to what Lenderman told 5NEWS, the woman said to him, “You’ll never find God.”
Morris said Grove wouldn’t have learned that at the Church of Wells.
“Those two statements are very absurd and repulsive if that indeed did take place she did not learn that from us or hear that from us,” he said. “We did not teach her, instruct her to behave that way before an officer and to call [his] daughter demon-possessed that she doesn’t even know and it doesn’t sound like the officer [himself] was behaving as one who is demon-possessed according to scripture. That being said, I don’t know why she said that.”
Listen to the 5NEWS interview with Sean Morris below:
Listen to the 911 call made by Grove to the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office below: