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FIRST ON FOX – Missouri police say a group of six people, including two young children, who follow a popular online spirituality influencer, disappeared from the St. Louis area on Aug. 13, 2023.
The Berkeley Police Department is searching for Mikayla Thompson, 25, of St. Louis; Naaman Williams, 30, of Washington, D.C.; Gerrielle German, 27, of Lake Horn, Mississippi; 2-year-old Ashton Williams of Lake Horn; Ma’Kayla Wickerson, 36, of St. Louis; and 3-year-old Malaiyah Wickerson of St. Louis. They disappeared from a rental home near Lambert St. Louis Airport, police said in a press release.
“The investigation revealed these individuals had become a part of a spiritual cult and they follow the teachings of a man named Rashad Jamal (White). Rashad Jamal has tens of thousands of followers across multiple social media platforms. It should be noted he was recently convicted of various crimes in the State of Georgia and is serving a lengthy prison sentence,” Berkeley police said in the release.
The group was last seen on Aug. 13, 2023, at a Quality Inn Hotel at 55 Dunn Road in Florissant, Missouri.
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Mikayla Thompson, 25, of St. Louis; Gerrielle German, 27, of Lake Horn, Mississippi; and Ma’Kayla Wickerson, 36, of St. Louis, shop at a grocery store prior to their Aug. 13, 2023, disappearance from St. Louis. (Berkeley Police Department)
The four missing adults have one thing in common, police told Fox News Digital. They all openly follow Rashad Jamal White, a self-proclaimed “prophet” and rapper who created The University of Cosmic Intelligence — an online religious group with thousands of followers across the United States. Fox News Digital has reached out to The University of Cosmic Intelligence.
A Barrow County judge sentenced Jamal to 18 years in prison in August 2023 after a jury found him guilty of child molestation and cruelty to children, according to court documents. On Aug. 25 of last year, Jamal filed a motion for a new trial, citing “the State’s failure to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
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He has nearly 190,000 followers on TikTok, more than 10,000 followers on X and 90,000 followers on Instagram, where he shares videos expressing his beliefs that people are “avatars,” birds are government-operated drones used to spy on civilians, Arizona is a gateway to Africa and the Mississippi River is actually the Nile River, among other claims.
Rashad Jamal has nearly 190,000 followers on TikTok, more than 10,000 followers on X and 90,000 followers on Instagram. (TikTok)
“The only law I had broken was speaking out against oppression,” Jamal said in a YouTube video posted last week. “…The only thing I am guilty of is freeing the minds of my people and speaking out against this system, and I’ll never back down from that.”
Jamal’s group is “geared toward enlightening and illuminating the minds of the carbonated beings, a.k.a. your so called [sic] Black and Latino people of Earth,” the university’s website states. He preaches about “high-vibration” individuals who want to connect with the Earth and their ancient pasts versus “low-vibration” individuals who make the world a more toxic place.
“I am a god, and all of my people, the Black and Latino people, are gods. And we were made in the image of our creator,” Jamal said in a May 2022 video. “Therefore, I am an extension of Her/Them, and I am the creator and destroyer of my reality, so I take full responsibility for all events that I have experienced through this lifetime, for this is what we call shadow work in the spiritual realm.”
Rashad Jamal shares videos expressing his beliefs that people are “avatars,” birds are government-operated drones used to spy on civilians, Arizona is a gateway to Africa and the Mississippi River is actually the Nile River, among other claims. (TikTok)
The University of Cosmic Intelligence website also lists crystals, crystal necklaces, bracelets and other items for sale at odd prices, such as $333.33, $222 or $119.99. The university offers enrollment packages for lectures, blog posts, videos and merchandise for $333.33. Jamal is also asking for $9 donations to support his family via YouTube.
Fox News Digital reported in 2022 that several of Jamal’s followers — including Damien Winslow Washam, Krystal Diane Pinkins and Yasmine Hider — had been accused of two separate murders in Alabama. Washam was found not guilty of killing his mother with a sword by reason of insanity.
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Krystal Diane Pinkins, 36, left, and Yasmine Hider, 20, are charged with first-degree murder in the Aug. 14 killing of 22-year-old Adam Simjee of Apopka, Florida, as well as multiple counts of robbery and kidnapping in Clay County, Alabama. (Clay County Sheriff’s Office)
Pinkins and Hider were sentenced last week for killing Adam Sinjee, a 22-year-old Florida college student who was hiking with his girlfriend in the Talladega National Forest in Alabama when Pinkins and Hider staged a car breakdown and robbed them.
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Pinkins and Hider had been living “off the grid” in the Talladega National Forest near the crime scene and allegedly had connections to Jamal’s work through social media, as Motherboard reported in 2022.
Mikayla Paulus, the girlfriend of Adam Simjee, told FOX 35 Orlando these photos of them were taken about an hour before the two were held at gunpoint in a deadly attempted armed robbery. (Mikayla Paulus)
After publication, several of Jamal’s followers reached out to Fox News Digital insisting upon his innocence, not only in relation to the murder cases, but in Jamal’s molestation case filed in Jackson County, as well.
Now, Berkeley police are shining new light on Jamal and The University of Cosmic Intelligence as it relates to the disappearances of the six aforementioned people, who originate from different states but met and lived together in St. Louis for a brief period before they vanished.
Neighbors reported seeing the group of six, including their children, meditating naked in the yard outside their rental home, police told Fox News Digital.
Neighbors reported seeing the group of six, including their children, meditating naked in the yard outside their rental home, police told Fox News Digital. (Berkeley Police Department)
“The level of disconnect these cult members have demonstrated with friends and family members is unfathomable,” Berkeley police said in their release. “We have learned that similar cult members travel at great lengths to live off the grid and stay with fellow cult members and that their economic status does not appear to be a factor.”
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Police noted that “major media outlets have reported on” Jamal and encouraged the public to “do an internet search on his name.”
The four missing adults went by aliases that pay tribute to certain gods and goddesses — a common theme among many of Jamal’s followers.
Naaman Williams called himself Anubis Aramean. (Berkeley Police Department)
Thompson called herself Antu Anum Ahmat, Williams called himself Anubis Aramean and Wickerson called herself Intuahma Aquama Auntil, according to police.
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Other behaviors that Jamal’s followers exhibit, according to police, include being very active on social media in support of Jamal and The University of Cosmic Intelligence, a “total disconnection” from family and friends, quitting jobs, living off of credit cards, going off the grid and disconnecting from phones, embracing sovereign citizenship, polygamy and more.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about the whereabouts of these missing individuals to contact the Berkeley Police Department in Missouri or their local law enforcement office.
Audrey Conklin is a digital reporter for Fox News Digital and FOX Business. Email tips to [email protected] or on Twitter at @audpants.