Chantelle McDOUGALL, Simon KADWELL & daughter LEELA

                                                                and Antonio POPIC

Two men, a woman, and a child hold their hands in prayer

 

 

A woman and a child stand in front and a fence, next to a tree.

Above - Chantelle and Leela

 

 

Below - Antonio Popic          

Image result for chantelle Mcdougall

Below  - Simon Kadwell aka Gary Felton

Cult leader Simon Kadwell aka Gary Felton leans back on a couch, arms up around his head.

 

 

Missing family mystery baffles police

April 02, 2008  - The Australian

POLICE in Western Australia are baffled by the mysterious disappearance of a family of three and their friend, who told family last July that they were going for a holiday to Brazil.

The missing person's unit has been investigating the case for several months but has so far drawn a complete blank, and is now appealing to the public for help.

Chantelle McDougall, 27, originally from Victoria, her English partner Simon Kadwell, 45, and their six-year-old daughter Leela had been living in a house 10km out of Nannup, in WA's southwest.

They lived in the town for about 18 months after moving down from Perth, while a friend, Antonio Popic, 40, was living in a caravan in the backyard.

Acting Sergeant Fiona Caporn said today Ms McDougall told her mother Cathy in July they were going away on holidays to Brazil.

They called their real estate agent to say they were leaving and he could have their furniture, packed up their belongings and on July 13 travelled to Busselton where they sold their car.
It was the last time they were seen.

"There's nothing to say where they are, their location and whereabouts are unknown,'' Sgt Caporn said.

She said the family largely kept to themselves, but there was no indication of foul play.

Police said the bank accounts of the three adults were untouched, and Centrelink, Medicare and immigration checks had revealed nothing.

 Ms McDougall and her daughter were only reported missing in October when her parents called police, while Mr Popic's brother reported him missing in November.

"Chantelle's parents didn't report them missing for a while because they were under the belief they had gone on a holiday, but all our information at this stage states they are still in Australia,'' Sgt Caporn said.

Police say they have not yet identified Mr Kadwell's next of kin.

Family heartbroken over missing family


2nd April 2008, 11:15 WST     KAREN HODGE - The West

The father of a Nannup woman and her daughter missing for nine months with a flatmate has spoken of the family’s heartbreak at not knowing what happened to them.

Chantelle McDougall, 27, her daughter Leela, 6, and Antonio Popic, 40, have not been seen since July.

Their belongings have not been touched and the home they rented, 10km from the South West town, has been abandoned.

Officers who inspected the home found no sign of a struggle.

Ms McDougall and Mr Popic are understood to have not touched Centrelink payments or bank accounts.

No one has heard from the trio, who are understood to have told friends they were going on an overseas holiday.

The mother and daughter had been living with two males at the time, including Mr Popic.

Chantelle’s father Jim McDougall of Wodonga, NSW, told ABC Radio this morning that the family was heartbroken and had struggled to understand what happened to the trio.

“It’s wearing the family down,” Mr McDougall said.

Mr McDougall, who had only met Mr Popic once, said the family knew nothing other than that the trio had made plans to go on a holiday.

However, he said the police had told them that there was no evidence they even left the country.

“When they didn’t get back to us we got suspicious and were at a dead end,” he told ABC Radio.

He said it had crossed their minds that the trio may have chosen to disappear but said they did not really have any clues.

His daughter had often kept in touch, he said.

“She always contacted us all her life.”

“We are terribly worried… we want to know if they are safe and well.”

Mr McDougall and his wife Cathy said they had tried to see their daughter and granddaughter once a year but the distance between Perth and Wodonga made visits difficult.

He described his daughter as a normal outgoing person who loved to teach swimming.

His granddaughter was one of three grandchildren and was special to the family.

The mother and daughter were reported missing in October last year. Mr Popic was reported missing by his brother.

Police and family members have been unable to locate the trio and hold grave fears for their safety.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Fears for family of three who disappeared without trace


2nd April 2008, 6:00 WST

GIOVANNI TORRE - The West

Police will launch a campaign for public help in solving the bizarre disappearance of a WA family, who vanished without a trace from their Nannup home nine months ago.
  
Detectives said yesterday that they had no idea what had happened to Antonio Popic, 40, his partner Chantelle McDougall, 27, and her six-year-old daughter Leela have not been seen since July. The house they rented, 10km from the South-West town, was abandoned and the family’s belongings were apparently untouched.
  
When officers inspected their home they found no sign of a struggle. In a sinister revelation, police said the family’s bank accounts had not been used since they went missing. And the unemployed couple had not accessed Centrelink payments.
  
Sen. Const. Fiona Caporn, from the Missing Persons Unit, said police had no clue what had happened to the family. Friends and family had been unable to provide even a rumour about their fate and nobody has been contacted by the missing trio since July.
  
“We have gone through all avenues of investigation and hope the public, through the media, can assist,” Sen. Const. Caporn said.
  
The police investigation has been hobbled by the late notice that the family had disappeared. The alert was not raised until October, months after they were last seen, when Ms McDougall’s parents filed a missing persons report after not hearing from the couple. Mr Popic’s brother filed another in November.
  
To further complicate the investigation, a forensic examination of the Nannup house has been compromised because the owner of the house had cleaned and re-rented the property after assuming her tenants had run off.
  
The mystery is even murkier given the family sold their car not long before vanishing.
  
In a last-ditch effort to unearth new information about what happened to the family, police are appealing to the public for information about sightings or contact with the trio since July.
  
Sen. Const. Caporn said anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Missing Persons - 929.com

In October last year a missing persons report was made for 27 year old Chantelle MCDOUGALL and her six year old daughter Leela by Chantelle's parents Jim and Cathy MCDOUGALL.

Chantelle and Leela were residing in Nannup with two other males, one who has also been reported missing by his brother - 40 year old Antonio POPIC.

The house was abandoned with all of their belongings left behind and untouched and there has been no word or sighting of any of them since July last year.

Family and friends of Chantelle, Leela and Antonio hold concerns for their safety.

Extensive enquiries by police and family members have failed to locate any trace of the missing persons. Do you have any information which will assist in their whereabouts.

If you know these people please call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

Doomsday sect is linked to missing Nannup residents


3rd April 2008, 7:00 WST - The West - SUELLEN JERRARD and BEATRICE THOMAS

A doomsday sect, which urges its followers to prepare for the world’s imminent end and rebirth, has been linked to the disappearance of four people from the South-West town of Nannup nearly nine months ago.

Simon Kadwill, 45, his partner Chantelle McDougall, 27, their sixyear-old daughter Leela McDougall and friend Antonio Popic, 40, have not been seen or heard from, nor have they used their bank accounts, since leaving their rented Nannup home in July.

East Perth real estate agent Joe Popic said yesterday he feared that the disappearance of his brother and his friends was linked to their involvement in a sect based on a book called Servers of the Divine Plan. **

**http://www.thenewcall.org/book_sdp.htm

Joe Popic said Mr Kadwill had introduced his brother to the book, which calls on “servers” from Earth and elsewhere to awaken and take up their positions before the world’s imminent end and rebirth.

Mr Kadwill had also tried unsuccessfully to recruit his brother as a “server”, Joe Popic said.

Since his brother’s disappearance, he had tried to find out more about the book and its followers, with limited success. He urged anyone with information to come forward, believing they could hold a key to the mystery. He said of the missing group: “They are the type of people that it wouldn’t be out of the question if they’re living on a commune somewhere and don’t want to be found. But it’s very concerning and we just want to know if they’re safe and well.

“There is nothing wrong with being alternative but I think they’re involved on a deeper level.

“You sort of hear of all these cult things and Waco, Texas, and people trying to top themselves and all this sort of stuff, but you would hope they wouldn’t do that.”

Missing persons unit Acting Sgt Fiona Caporn said police had been unable to find any group in WA that followed the Servers of the Divine Plan or any link between the book and the disappearance of the group.

There was also nothing to suggest foul play.

Acting Sgt Caporn said police understood the missing people had kept to themselves in Nannup but she was reluctant to further discuss their lifestyle or whether they were part of a sect.

Police initially had said they were searching only for Antonio Popic, Ms McDougall and Leela, who had been reported missing by their families in October.

Yesterday they said they were also looking for Mr Kadwill, who is originally from England but has been in Australia for about seven years. He has not officially been reported missing and police have been unable to find any next of kin.

Ms McDougall’s father Jim, who lives near Wodonga in Victoria, said police had told him he could not discuss Mr Kadwill or whether his daughter had been involved in a sect or alternative teachings.

He said Chantelle had told his wife Cathy when they last spoke by telephone on July 14 that she and Leela were going on an extended holiday to South America

He said she sounded happy and excited and there had been no reason to believe otherwise until she failed to contact them again, which was out of character.

Police had told him there were no records of his daughter, granddaughter or friends leaving Australia.

The group left their house on a rural property about 10km south of Nannup after paying up what they owed and telling the real estate agent to keep their furniture. Mr Popic had been living in a caravan at the rear of the house.

The group took only their personal belongings.

The last known sighting of the group was when Chantelle sold her car at a car yard in Busselton about the same time.

Nannup residents who spoke to The West Australian yesterday said that although they had noticed the group’s absence in recent months, they had thought nothing of it, given the somewhat itinerant nature of the South-West town, even though the group had lived there for several years.

“As far as the people around town knowing their whereabouts and when and how they left, no one has any idea,” local police officer Sen. Const. Dean Bristow said.

Max Arvidson, who employed Ms McDougall at his fish and chip shop until a few months before her disappearance, said there had been talk in the community about the group’s alternative beliefs and that they might move because of Mr Kadwill’s concerns about high-tension electricity wires over their home.

Mr Arvidson described Ms McDougall as a diligent worker and lovely person and mother. He said Mr Kadwill always gave the impression that he was an alternative thinker.

“He behaved perhaps like you would expect (in the) 1960s, not the orange people but that sort of thing, very alternative, sometimes totally nonsensical,” he said.

A neighbour described the group as quiet people who kept to themselves. They had given some hints that they could be ready to move on by raising concerns about the new electricity lines and also giving away their chickens.

Ms McDougall was the only one in steady employment, working both at the fish and chip shop and teaching swimming to local children. She also home-schooled Leela.

Joe Popic said his brother had always led a nomadic life, which was why it had taken him so long to raise the alarm with police. He said it was out of character for him to be out of touch for so long.

“My brother is a very nice human being and he wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Joe Popic said.

“He’s a gentle sort of person and unfortunately, I believe, he just got involved with the wrong sort of people.”

Acting Sgt Caporn defended the delay between the group being reported missing in October and police going public for help this week.

“We’ve gone through our avenues of inquiry and gone through there, so this is the next stage of trying to appeal to the public,” she said.

 

Vanished without a trace: A South West family disappears

Posted April 2, 2008 21:46:00 - ABC

Police have stepped up their investigation into the disappearance of a family of three and their male lodger who vanished from the South West town of Nannup nine months ago.

The case has baffled police who have issued an international missing persons alert and even investigated claims the four have joined a religious sect.

Chantelle McDougall, Simon Kadwill and their six-year-old daughter Leela were renting a house last year, 10 kilometres out of nannup.

Lodger and friend, Antonio Popic, lived in a caravan on the property.

Last July all four vanished without a trace.

Ms McDougall's father Jim McDougall reported her missing in October after being told she planned a holiday to Brazil with her daughter.

"After a few week I was a bit suspicious we didn't hear so I actually contacted overseas where they were supposed to be and there was no record so I got really worried and contacted missing persons.

Mr Popic's brother raised the alarm a month later.

Mr Kadwill moved to Western Australia from Britain seven years ago and has no known next of kin.

Police have revealed bank accounts and mobile telephones have not been accessed, and passports have not been used for overseas travel.

Acting Sergeant Fiona Caporn says the missing people settled their lease agreement but seemed to have left in a hurry.

"As far as we know a couple of days before they went missing they sold the car that Chantelle owned, they left their property in their house at Nannup and they haven't been seen since," she said.

Ms McDougall worked part time in a fish and chip shop and taught children swimming lessons in her neighbour's pool.

Police have made inquiries nationally and abroad and even followed up reports the group may have joined a religious sect.

Anyone with information about the four is asked to contact the Missing Persons Unit.

 

 

'Sect book' linked to missing family

By Nicolas Perpitch | April 03, 2008 - The Australian

A BOOK predicting the end of the world will be pulled from publication after it was linked to the disappearance of four people in Western Australia.

But publisher Brett Mitchell, the owner of Esoteric Publishing which he says published Servers of the Divine Plan, denied the book is the basis of a doomsday sect and expressed shock at the disappearances.

Chantelle McDougall, 27, from Victoria, her English partner Simon Kadwill, 45, their six-year-old daughter Leela and housemate Antonio Popic, 40, have been missing since July.

Mr Popic's brother, Joe, today said he believed they may be linked to a sect based on the writings of the book, which prophesises the birth of a new world following the end of a 75,000-year cycle.

The book promotes itself as a guide calling on "servers" to prepare themselves as the globe heads for an imminent "Great Transition".

In a statement on his website today, Mr Mitchell said the book would be immediately pulled from publication.

"I am shocked to hear the news of the disappearance of Chantelle McDougall and her family," Mr Mitchell said.

"I extend my deepest sympathy to the McDougall family and I really do hope that everyone is found soon.

"I am also dismayed to see the book Servers of the Divine Plan linked to a `doomsday cult'.

"This publishing house was founded to help people find their own way to truth, not to support cults and other fanaticism. I am removing the book from publication immediately."

Mr Mitchell was being sought for further comment.

Ms McDougall and her family were living in WA's south-western town of Nannup before telling Ms McDougall's family in Victoria they were going on a holiday to Brazil.

They have not been seen since.

Police yesterday appealed for public help in solving the mystery of their disappearance.

The three adults' bank accounts have not been touched since they vanished and immigration checks showed they had not left the country.

Joe Popic said Mr Kadwill introduced his brother and the others to the book.

"They are the type of people that it wouldn't be out of the question if they're living on a commune somewhere and don't want to be found," Mr Popic told The West Australian newspaper.

"But it's very concerning and we just want to know if they're safe and well."

Police said they had received 30 telephone calls on the disappearances since yesterday's appeal and were currently wading through the information for credible leads.

Police have appealed for public help in solving the mystery of their disappearance, but said they did not believe there had been foul play.

 

Callers provide leads on missing family mystery


3rd April 2008, 11:30 WST - The West

Police are sifting through more than 30 calls to Crime Stoppers over the puzzling disappearance of four people from the South-West town of Nannup.

WA police spokesman Sergeant Graham Clifford told thewest.com.au that there were no firm leads at this stage but police had received the calls from across the country to the crime reporting line.

Sgt Clifford said that they now had to go through all that information to see if there was anything relevant to the inquiry.

The West Australian revealed yesterday that police were searching for Simon Kadwill, 45, his partner Chantelle McDougall, 27, their daughter Leela, 6, and a flatmate Antonio Popic, 40, who lived in a caravan in the backyard, have not been seen or heard from since July.

Mr Kadwill is the only one not to have been officially reported missing.

None of their bank accounts have been touched since the group left their rented Nannup home nine months ago.

As reported in The West Australian today, a doomsday sect, which urges its followers to prepare for the world’s imminent end and rebirth, has been linked to the group’s disappearance.

East Perth real estate agent Joe Popic said yesterday he feared that the disappearance of his brother and his friends was linked to their involvement in a sect based on a book called Servers of the Divine Plan.

Mr Popic said Mr Kadwill had introduced his brother to the book, which calls on “servers” from Earth and elsewhere to awaken and take up their positions before the world’s imminent end and rebirth.

Mr Kadwill had also tried unsuccessfully to recruit his brother as a “server”, Joe Popic said.

Since his brother’s disappearance, he had tried to find out more about the book and its followers, with limited success.

He said of the missing group: “They are the type of people that it wouldn’t be out of the question if they’re living on a commune somewhere and don’t want to be found. But it’s very concerning and we just want to know if they’re safe and well.

“There is nothing wrong with being alternative but I think they’re involved on a deeper level.

“You sort of hear of all these cult things and Waco, Texas, and people trying to top themselves and all this sort of stuff, but you would hope they wouldn’t do that.”

Missing persons unit Acting Sgt Fiona Caporn said police had been unable to find any group in WA that followed the Servers of the Divine Plan or any link between the book and the disappearance of the group.

There was also nothing to suggest foul play.

Acting Sgt Caporn said police understood the missing people had kept to themselves in Nannup but she was reluctant to further discuss their lifestyle or whether they were part of a sect.

Ms McDougall’s father Jim, who lives near Wodonga in Victoria, said Chantelle had told his wife Cathy when they last spoke by telephone on July 14 that she and Leela were going on an extended holiday to South America.

He said she sounded happy and excited and there had been no reason to believe otherwise until she failed to contact them again, which was out of character.

Police had told him there were no records of his daughter, granddaughter or friends leaving Australia.

The group left their house on a rural property about 10km south of Nannup after paying up what they owed and telling the real estate agent to keep their furniture. The group took only their personal belongings.

The last known sighting of the group was when Chantelle sold her car at a car yard in Busselton about the same time.

Nannup residents who spoke to The West Australian yesterday said that although they had noticed the group’s absence in recent months, they had thought nothing of it, given the somewhat itinerant nature of the South-West town, even though the group had lived there for several years.

A neighbour described the group as quiet people who kept to themselves. They had given some hints that they could be ready to move on by raising concerns about the new electricity lines and also giving away their chickens.

Ms McDougall was the only one in steady employment, working both at the fish and chip shop and teaching swimming to local children. She also home-schooled Leela.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

KAREN HODGE, SUELLEN JERRARD, BEATRICE THOMAS

 

Missing Briton may be conman

Alana Buckley-Carr | April 04, 2008 - The Australian

A BRITISH citizen who has gone missing with his Australian partner, their six-year-old daughter and a 40-year-old housemate may be more of a "conman than a cult leader", according to a West Australian cult expert.

Simon Kadwill, 45, his partner Chantelle McDougall, 27, their daughter Leela and housemate Antonio Popic have not been seen for nine months since they took their belongings, sold their car and left their rented rural house in the tiny bush town of Nannup, 280km southwest of Perth.

While police remained tight-lipped on their missing person investigation, religious group expert Adrian van Leen said Mr Kadwill, aka Kadwell or Kaddy, had written the New Age book Servers of the Divine Plan. Police confirmed the man had several aliases.

The book, which prophesises the birth of a new world of higher consciousness following the end of a 75,000-year cycle, has sold 4000 copies since its 1999 release. But yesterday its publisher, Esoteric Publishing, a California-based company, withdrew the title from sale. "This publishing house was founded to help people find their own way to truth, not to support cults and other fanaticism. I am removing the book from publication immediately," a statement from publisher Brett Mitchell said on the company's website yesterday.

Mr Mitchell would not confirm who wrote the book, saying he had "promised not to", but he said Esoteric Publishing had paid royalties to the author. It was not known how recently payments were made.

Mr van Leen said Mr Kadwill had in the past promoted himself as a "higher being", who needed very little sleep.

He said Mr Kadwill was not involved in a "doomsday cult" that would commit group suicide. "It doesn't have the hallmarks of a Waco (cult)," Mr van Leen said.

Nannup locals said the group's members kept to themselves and were hardly seen around the town. Ms McDougall worked at the local fish and chip shop. Both men received Centrelink payments while Leela was home-schooled.

Perth detectives said earlier this week that very little was known about Mr Kadwill, except for the fact he had been in Australia for seven years. They had checked immigration, Medicare and Centrelink records, but had found no trace of the group or whether they had attempted to leave the country.

Ms McDougall's Victorian parents reported her and Leela missing last October after discovering they had not gone on an overseas holiday as Ms McDougall had told them.

None of the group's bank accounts have been touched since July 13 last year.

 

Missing persons search: Cult group contacts police

Posted April 3, 2008 18:00:00
Updated April 3, 2008 21:20:00  - ABC

A cult awareness group has contacted police about their missing persons investigation into the disappearance of four people from the south-west town of Nannup.

Chantelle McDougall, her partner Simon Kadwill and their daughter Leela have not been seen since July last year.

Forty-year-old Antonio Popic, who lived in a caravan at the back of the property, is also missing.

Concerned Christian Ministries director Adrian Van Leen says his group has discovered that Mr Kadwill wrote a New Age book called Servers of the Divine Plan and conducted lessons.

He has told the ABC the book does not promote dangerous beliefs.

"I don't think the book is saying anything different to a lot of new agey type publications and material, in itself it doesn't predict a serious end time scenerio with people committing mass murder suicide," he said.

The disappearance of the four people has baffled police who are calling on anyone with any information to contact the Missing Persons Unit.

 

Police ‘open minded’ on missing Nannup four


4th April 2008, 17:30 WST - The West
 

WA police say they’re keeping an open mind over links to a sect or commune in the disappearance of four people from a small town in the state’s south-west more than nine months ago.

One of the four, Englishman Simon Kadwill, 45, was revealed yesterday as the author of a new age book, Servers of the Divine Plan, predicting the world was about to come to the end of a 75,000-year cycle and enter a phase of higher consciousness.

Brett Mitchell, owner of Esoteric Publishing, which published the book, confirmed Mr Kadwill was the previously anonymous author.

Mr Mitchell rejected speculation the text was linked to a doomsday cult but immediately withdrew it from publication.

Mr Kadwill, Chantelle McDougall, 27, from Victoria and the pair’s six-year-old daughter Leela, along with their housemate Antonio Popic, 40, have been missing since July last year.

They had been living in a house about 10km out of Nannup when Ms McDougall told her mother they were going on a holiday to Brazil.

They sold their car, packed their belongings and left their furniture with their real estate agent.

The four have not been seen since, their bank accounts remain untouched, and there is no sign they ever actually left Australia.

Police appealed for public help in finding the four earlier this week, all of whom had been reported missing except for Mr Kadwill.

Police said they had not been able to track down his next of kin and knew little else about him other than he had been in Australia for seven years.

Servers of the Divine Plan promotes itself as a guide for “servers” to prepare themselves as the globe heads towards an imminent “Great Transition” from darkness into light.

It has prompted speculation he may have led the other three to live in a commune or in isolation somewhere in the forrest’s of the Nannup region.

Police today said they had received more than 30 telephone calls about the disappearances, but there was still nothing to indicate foul play.

“Police continue to keep an open mind in this investigation,” a statement said.

“Speculation about the involvement of religious sect/s is simply being treated as speculation - however, police will always keep an open mind.

“At this stage, police have not been able to confirm any involvement of the missing persons in any sect or commune.”

AAP

 

International hunt for cult 'guru' over Nannup family disappearance

Date
- WA Today

One of Western Australia's greatest mysteries has gained international exposure as Australian Federal Police try to re-ignite new leads into the case of missing Nannup mother Chantelle McDougall and her daughter Leela.

The 30-year-old and her six-year-old daughter went missing in October 2007, together with partner Gary Feldman, 45, and friend Antonio Popic, 40.

Gary Feldman, as we know him now, claimed to be some sort of religious guru and he enticed them into his little flock that way. 

Mr Feldman was only ever known in Australia as Simon Kadwell, a false alias he picked up from England before emigrating in 2000. He was also Leela's father.

Since their disappearance, he has been linked to a sect based on a doomsday book called Servers of the Divine Plan, which calls on "servers" to take up their positions on Earth before the world's imminent end and rebirth.

The family and their lodger, Mr Popic, who lived in a caravan on their South-West property, mysteriously vanished, leaving behind wallets, credit cards and dirty plates on the table.

They were last seen in a Busselton car yard north of Nannup heading towards Perth, where they sold Ms McDougall's car for $4000. The money remains untouched in her bank account.

Ms McDougall's parents, Jim and Cathy McDougall, have not given up hope of finding their daughter and granddaughter safe and well, but remain convinced it was Mr Feldman who persuaded them to disappear.

"Originally this guy - Gary Feldman, as we know him now - claimed to be some sort of religious guru and he enticed them into his little flock that way," Mr McDougall said.

"(It) was September two years ago that we found he was English, and his parents were from England, and he had taken money off people, and that his name was Gary Feldman, and the real Simon Kadwell was quite a nice guy in England."

He said his daughter was a vulnerable and naive teenager when she met Mr Feldman in Victoria.

"He was operating in Melbourne when Chantelle met 'Simon Kadwell', if you want to call him that. Chantelle was only a teenager, only 16 or 17. She's 30 now," Mr McDougall said.

"That guy had other young girls with children and when they moved over there (to WA) she went over to help with the kids and it went on from there.

"I think she was fairly naive in believing in what this guy was telling her."

Mr McDougall thought they may have travelled to Brazil, after Ms McDougall suggested the family was planning a holiday there months before they disappeared. But there has been no evidence to show the group left Australia.

"We did a bit of work but everything we found was a dead end, in the end. So we never really got anywhere ... we couldn't find any reason about where they had been, where they had gone, so there was just no clues to help to find them," Mr McDougall said.

"It is unresolved and completely strange but also it is very frustrating for us and the police and Missing Persons and everybody because there are four people missing, not just one person missing."

AFP Missing Persons Co-ordination Centre team leader Rebecca Kotz agreed, saying: "This case is so baffling to police because there are no leads."

Investigators have so far worked with WA Police, Scotland Yard and US authorities. However this week, as a part of Missing Person's Week, they have stepped up the campaign by involving the global missing children network, which has 19 member countries.

"All of the profiles that are submitted (to the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children), of which Leela was one of our Australian profiles, will be featured all around the world," Ms Kotz said.

She said the centre has started a Facebook page this year which includes every profile on AFP's website helpbringthemhome.org.au.

Although Ms McDougall and her daughter's physical appearances may have changed, her parents say the pair was unlikely to go unnoticed.

"Leela was very loud child, she wasn't quiet and she loved to know exactly what you were doing.," Mrs McDougall said.

"She would go up and talk to different people and ask them what they were doing and she loved to dance, play little jokes and that.

"So I don't know how you would keep a child like that quiet, you would notice her, and Chantelle was always a very kind, thoughtful and caring sort of person.

"She liked to joke too and she was happy and things like that, and if she was in a community people would notice her."

Although they still visited WA to see Mr Popic's family - who were too traumatised by the disappearance to speak publicly - they could no longer bring themselves to go to Nannup, saying it was "too heartbreaking".

"It never gets any easier. You always relive it every day of your life, every day it gets a little bit harder," Mr McDougall said.

Brazilian search for cult family

RONAN O'CONNELL, The West Australian Updated July 20, 2011, 2:10 am

 

The mysterious disappearance of a Nannup family linked to an internet cult has taken a dramatic twist, with police investigating whether they were on a plane which crashed in Brazil four years ago.

Chantelle McDougall, 30, her cult leader boyfriend Gary Felton, 48, their daughter Leela McDougall, 10, and friend Tony Popic, 44, were last seen on July 13, 2007 in Busselton where they sold a car for $4000 to a local dealer and drove away in a waiting vehicle.

The group, none of whom have touched their bank accounts since, told family and friends they were headed for Brazil.

Four days later, Tam Airlines domestic flight 3054 from Porto Alegre to Sao Paulo crashed at Sao Paulo Airport, killing 181 passengers, six flight crew and 12 people on the ground.

The plane careered off the end of the runway, cleared a highway bordering the inner-city airport, slammed into a fuel depot and burst into flames.

The resulting heat was so intense that more than 70 of the bodies were so badly burnt they were either never recovered or could not be identified.

_The West Australian _understands the WA Police missing persons squad has been liaising with Brazilian authorities in an effort to determine whether the missing group were among the victims.

While the flight's passenger manifest is publicly available, and does not contain the names of any of the group, the issue has been complicated by Mr Felton's history of forging identity documents.

While living in Australia, where he operated a secretive doomsday internet forum, the Englishman went by the name Simon Kadwell - an identity he stole from a former British associate more than 15 years ago. It is understood WA detectives have been investigating whether the group could have travelled under false identities, but are yet to find any evidence that they did. Police have previously said they had not left Australia under their real names.

WA Police refused to comment on the case yesterday.

Chantelle's father Jim McDougall said yesterday he had conducted his own investigations into the plane crash and did not believe the group were on board.

He did not believe there was enough time for them to have made it to Porto Alegre in time for the flight.

"We spoke to police about that crash a little while back but we haven't had any recent update on what they've come across," Mr McDougall said.

"We looked at the names on the passenger list and didn't find theirs, which was a big relief.

"We strongly believe they are alive and are hoping that they will make contact sooner, rather than later."

Mr McDougall and his wife have previously accused Mr Felton of brainwashing and seducing their daughter when, as a 17-year-old, she started babysitting for him.

Mr Felton and Chantelle had Leela and in 2004 moved with Mr Popic to Nannup, where Mr Felton operated the doomsday forum called The Gateway.

He was called Si in the internet chat forum, which involved about 40 members around the world who referred to themselves as the Forecourt - a religious reference to the place where believers wait for "judgment day".

 

Cult link in Nannup bones find

SANDY POWELL, Manjimup-Bridgetown Times March 7, 2012, 6:00 am
 

Human remains discovered in Nannup last week could be those of four cult members who went missing nearly five years ago.

Police are anxiously waiting on results of forensic tests on bones and clothing found in a paddock on February 28 while they investigate potential links to missing persons cases.

Det-Sen. Sgt Jon Munday said the cult members, who mysteriously disappeared in 2007, were a clear lead because of where the remains were found.

‘‘Obviously we’re looking for any link with any long term missing persons,’’ Sgt Munday said.

Chantelle McDougall, 28, when she went missing, her daughter Leela, 8, partner Gary Feldman, 46, and friend Tony Popic, 42, were last seen in Busselton.

The four were linked to a mysterious doomsday cult and investigations into their whereabouts were inconclusive.

Sgt Munday said the case was progressing slowly as forensic evidence was still being processed.

‘‘We’re hoping to have some answers by the end of the week as to the sex and age of the person, which will help in identification,’’ he said.

‘‘Actual identification might take a few weeks, as there is so little to go on. However, if pathology is able to match any missing person’s dental records that will significantly speed up the process.’’

The skeletal remains were uncovered by horses grazing in a Grange Road paddock and later discovered by the animals’ owner.

Forensics officer senior constable Tony Quest said the bones, which included a skull, were not previously buried but may have been submerged due to the swampy nature of the paddock, and this had hampered investigations.

Snr const Quest said this made it hard to determine how long the remains had been there, though the property owners told police the paddock had been cleared about 18 months ago.

Clothing found with the remains was also examined by forensics at the scene and sent to Perth for further testing, though Sgt. Munday said they were unlikely to provide answers.

‘‘We were hoping to find other items with the clothing, accessories, such as a watch or jewellery which would be ideal, but there was nothing of the sort,’’ he said.

 

Inquest into cult leader Simon Kadwell, Chantelle McDougall and daughter Leela begins

Posted 

A note left behind simply said: "Gone to Brazil".

It was the only clue internet cult leader Simon Kadwell, partner Chantelle McDougall, their daughter Leela, and lodger Tony Popic left at their home in Nannup in 2007.

Ten years on, their disappearance remains among Australia's most baffling missing persons cases.

It gained extra notoriety because of the mystery surrounding Mr Kadwell, a man of many aliases who has been called a conman and cult leader.

There are fears Ms McDougall, Leela and Mr Popic were swept up in Mr Kadwell's self-styled New Age religion that prophesised an imminent judgment day.

A coronial inquest examining the disappearances begins today in the south-west WA town of Busselton.
 

The four fled their home in the nearby town of Nannup in July 2007, leaving behind wallets, credit cards, food in the fridge and dirty dishes on the table.

There is no proof they left the country. Their bodies have never been found and there is no proof they are dead.

There is also no proof they are alive.

A decade of dead ends

For years, Chantelle's parents Catherine and Jim McDougall have hoped their daughter and granddaughter would be found alive as the search expanded from WA to Australia and overseas.

After a decade their hopes have faded, although they believe someone, somewhere, knows what happened.

Over the years there have been glimmers of hope the four might be found.

WA police investigated whether they snuck out of Australia and travelled to Brazil to live in a commune on the outskirts of Rio Branco — a town in the Amazon rainforests that is home to syncretic religious cults.

A few years after they went missing it was discovered the cult leader had stolen his identity from a former colleague, and Mr Kadwell's real name was Gary Felton.

Amateur sleuths also argued over the group's fate in online private investigator forums, putting forward the idea they had been aboard an Airbus plane that crashed and exploded, killing all on board, in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2007.

The last lead investigated by police was evidence Mr Kadwell or Mr Popic had stayed in a Northbridge backpackers before catching a train to Kalgoorlie on the night of July 15, 2007, just days after they went missing.

All leads on their whereabouts were dead ends.

Every time a body is found, the McDougalls think that perhaps, this time, it will be their daughter or granddaughter.

"It's terrible. Your heart races and your mind spins and you think, 'Maybe it is them'," Ms McDougall said.

"Then you find out it's not [Chantelle or Leela] and you think 'Another dead end'. It's really hard."

Chantelle was last seen on July 13, 2007, when she sold her car for $4,000 at a Busselton dealership.

That money sits untouched in her bank account, along with the money she made from selling her breeding dogs — two long-haired dachshunds.

The McDougalls have prepared for the coroner to this week rule their daughter and granddaughter are dead.

"We would like some final decision. If it's an open finding then … it is what it is," Mr McDougall said.

How 'Si' directed his 'servers'

Nannup, a timber town about 270 kilometres south-west of Perth, is home to just 500 people.

In a rented house, Mr Kadwell wrote under the name "Si" to his 40 online followers in a group forum called The Truth Fellowship.

His followers call themselves "servers" and are still posting about his book Servers of the Divine Plan in a social media group.

Mr Kadwell also authored a similar book with doomsday themes called The New Call, which can still be bought online. Paperback copies sell for an eye-watering $360.

All of Mr Kadwell's writing prophesied Earth was heading to the end of a 75,000-year cycle and a new world would be born.

He wrote to followers that every 75,000 years a judgment day occurred, and those who had learned "the lessons of the physical plane will be harvested into, or promoted to, a higher, more expansive level of experience".

His books are still finding fans online who do not know the mysterious story of the four West Australians' disappearance.

The pain of not knowing what happened to Chantelle and Leela is like an open wound for the McDougalls.

"It would be so much of a relief to find out what happened, whether it is good or bad," Ms McDougall said.

"It's the not knowing that's horrible."

WA Nannup doomsday cult inquest reveals 'bizarre, alternative lifestyle' of missing family

Posted 

A coronial inquest was set up to shed light on one of the most baffling mysteries in Western Australia this century — the suspected deaths of a WA family linked to a doomsday cult.

But rather than offering up answers for what happened, the family's fate is now shrouded in more mystery, with serious doubt over whether the four missing people are even dead.

Internet cult leader Simon Kadwell, his partner Chantelle McDougall, their five-year-old daughter Leela and friend Antonio Popic, who lived in a caravan on the rural property the family was renting, vanished in July 2007 from the South West WA town of Nannup.

The inquest this week gave an insight into the group's "bizarre, alternative lifestyle".

They told friends and family they were moving to Brazil to join a spiritual community because they felt they did not belong in modern society.

A note saying they had gone to Brazil was the only clue they left behind.

But they have not travelled overseas on their passports and their bank accounts remain untouched.

Prior to their disappearance, Mr Kadwell told a woman in his online cult forum that he was planning a "peaceful" family suicide pact.

When the woman said that would amount to murdering his young daughter, Mr Kadwell reneged on the idea and said they would instead move to an isolated area where they could not be reached.

Over the past decade police have been at a loss as to what happened.

Did the family move to Brazil under false identities? Are they living "off the grid" at an isolated location? Did they take their own lives? Or were they murdered?

The inquest's first witness, police investigator Senior Sergeant Gregory Balfour, said he was not convinced the family was dead and laid bare a series of events that have led police to question their fate.

The cult leader and his false identity

The inquest presented Simon Kadwell, the self-styled cult leader with a following online, as a strange and controlling man who was on anti-psychotic medication.

By witness accounts Mr Popic and Ms McDougall had been brainwashed and were subservient to him.

Following the family's disappearance, police discovered Mr Kadwell had stolen the birth certificate of a former associate in his native England and had assumed his identity.

His real name was Gary Felton.

In May 2007, traffic officers pulled him over and questioned his drivers licence identification after receiving a tip off that he was an imposter.

Police believe that may have caused him to panic and could have been the catalyst for the family's disappearance two months later.

Mr Kadwell's proven ability to falsify his identity prompted concern that the four of them could be living somewhere under assumed names.

Cars, dogs sold and house left spotless

Police also questioned why both Mr Kadwell and Ms McDougall would sell their cars if they were planning a suicide pact.

Mr Kadwell sold his car for $1500 without negotiation. Ms McDougall sold hers on the July 13, the day before she was last seen, and cashed the cheque at the bank.

The couple also sold their two pet dachshund dogs.

The woman who bought them on July 14, Carolyn French, was the last known person to see Ms McDougall.

She testified that she arranged with Ms McDougall to drive from Perth to Nannup on Sunday July 15 to pick up the dogs, but when she rang Ms McDougall the day before to get directions, Ms McDougall said, "No, you must come today."

Ms French drove down that afternoon and said Ms McDougall appeared anxious and eager to hurry her out.

She took the dogs, but forgot to pay.

When she returned home there was a missed call on her landline phone from Ms McDougall.

It was the last call made from the Nannup house.

Mr French called back, apologised and arranged to transfer the funds.

The following day, she phoned Ms McDougall to let her know the dogs were doing well, but her call was never returned.

Days later, the landlords of the farmhouse found two notes — one written by Mr Popic and one by Ms McDougall — saying the family had gone to Brazil.

The house was left spotless, the family had taken their clothing and personal belongings and the only food that was left behind was half a bowl of rice.

The man on the train

When police started wading through evidence to find potential clues into the family's disappearance they discovered a call was made from their Nannup home to TransWA on July 12 to book a bus ticket from Bridgetown to Northcliffe under the name "Jay Roberts."

The ticket was never used.

However, two train tickets booked under that name were redeemed on the morning of July 16 — one going from East Perth to Kalgoorlie, the other from Perth to Northcliffe.

It was established that a passenger under that name got off at Northcliffe, and someone boarded the train to Kalgoorlie, but there's no evidence they got to the final destination.

Mr Popic's mobile phone was traced to Perth on July 15. It was used to call backpackers accommodation, Dominos Pizza and gay bar the Court Hotel.

His drivers licence was also used to check in to a hostel in Northbridge.

Police have not ruled anything out, but say it is likely they were Mr Popic's movements, because the Dominos delivery driver later identified him as the one he delivered a pizza to in Kings Park.

Mr Popic was also gay, so the phone call to the Court Hotel provided a vital clue.

On July 16, his phone was used to call TransWA.

To this day, it has not been established why Mr Popic would try to conceal his identity to catch public transport, or what happened to him after July 16.

The caravan park and the smell of death

Senior Sergeant Gregory Balfour told the inquest there were several reported sightings of the family after July 2007 that were not followed up during the initial investigation.

Three months after Ms McDougall disappeared, prison workers also reported finding a woman's T-shirt along with the smell of "dead flesh" in bushland near Northcliffe.

However the report was not fully investigated until 2015, by which time bushfires had swept through the area.

In February 2011, someone by the name of Gary Felton checked into a caravan park in King River, near Albany.

Police attempted to locate every Gary Felton in the country, but none of the men said they had stayed there.

More questions than answers

Ms McDougall's parents, Jim and Cath, travelled all the way from Victoria to Busselton to find answers, but it has become increasingly likely that they may remain elusive.

Coroner Barry King closed the inquest by saying he could not guarantee he would be able to make a conclusive finding.

"My inclination at this stage is that there is simply insufficient evidence to find beyond reasonable doubt that everyone is dead," he said.

"It is difficult to exclude the possibility that somehow all of these people are living somewhere else under assumed names."

He said he hopes to hand down his findings mid next year.

 

'Doomsday cult' coronial inquest fails to solve mystery surrounding disappearance of Simon Kadwell and family

Updated 

A coronial inquest into the disappearance of a self-styled religious cult leader and his family has failed to determine whether the group is still alive or dead.

In one of Australia's most baffling missing persons cases, internet cult leader Simon Kadwell, 55, partner Chantelle McDougall, 28, their daughter Leela, 5, and friend Tony Popic vanished from the farmhouse they shared in the small Western Australian town of Nannup in 2007.

Ms McDougall told her family they planned to move to Brazil for spiritual reasons, but there is no indication the four ever left the country, nor has there been any confirmed sighting of them since.

A three-day inquest before coroner Barry King in December heard police had failed to fully investigate all of the evidence and possible sightings.

Inconclusive investigation

In his final report released today, Mr King said based on the evidence presented during the inquest, he could not make a conclusive ruling on whether the group had died or if they were still alive.

He said the group's spiritual beliefs about "ascending to a high plane", as well as the fact they had not accessed bank accounts or contacted family, pointed towards their deaths.

But the coroner also noted there was enough evidence, including four unconfirmed sightings of the group, to support the theory they were alive after orchestrating their own disappearances.

Two tickets booked under the name "J Roberts" were redeemed on the morning of July 16, 2007 — one going from East Perth to Kalgoorlie and the other from Perth to Northcliffe.

An unused bus ticket from Bridgetown to Northcliffe in the same name had been booked days earlier, after a call was made from the group's Nannup home to TransWA.

Coroner notes preparatory behaviour

The group also sold vehicles and pets, paid off credit cards and disconnected utility services in the lead-up to their disappearance, behaviour Mr King described as preparatory.

Mr King said he thought a self-styled cult leader like Mr Kadwell, who had spoken often of peaceful suicide pacts and the like, would have publicised his own death.

"It seems to me that if Simon had truly been motivated to end his life by his desire to be considered a spiritual leader, making his ascension known would have been a powerful message," he wrote.

Parents left broken by lack of answers

Ms McDougall's parents Jim and Catherine had called for the inquest in the hope they would get the answers they have so desperately desired.

But Catherine McDougall said despite the comprehensive testimony of eight witnesses, they had no new information to go on.

"We just have to hope that someone knows something and they come forward," she said.

"We'd just like to know what has happened to them, whether it's good or bad.

"It's the not knowing that's so hard. It's nearly 11 years now and we just don't know what's happened to them."

Catherine McDougall said living with the trauma of not knowing what had happened to her daughter and granddaughter was a torturous cycle.

"Every day I think of different scenarios of what happened — either they've gone through with the suicide pact or they've actually disappeared somewhere else," she said.

"I just don't know. It's just so hard all the time. You think about it — maybe they've done this or maybe that's happened. It's just horrible.

"I just hope that it doesn't happen to anyone else, because it's just a hard thing to have to go through all this all the time."