Nine children ages 8 and under were abused by their father, Peter Lucas Moses Jr., and his three wives Vania Rae Sisk (second from left), Lavada Quinzetta Harris (far right), and Larhonda Renee Smith (second from right). Four of the children were Sisk’s and five were Harris’. The children were homeschooled and home-churched in the cult-like Black Hebrews church.
In October 2010, Moses murdered Sisk’s 4-year-old son Jadon Higganbothan—the only one of the children who was not biologically his. In December 2010, Moses ordered Sisk to murder Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, another of his wives, because she could not have children. In February 2011, another of Moses’ wives (who was not publicly identified) escaped and reported the murders to the police. She also reported witnessing “horrific” abuse of the children. Moses and his family immediately fled the state to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Teller County social services found them and removed the children February 23.
Moses and his wives then moved back to Durham, North Carolina, where he was arrested on unrelated charges until the police could find evidence of the murders. They finally located Higganbothan’s and McKoy’s remains in June 2011 and charged Moses with first-degree murder. His wives were also charged. Moses pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty; as a result, he was not tried, so the specific nature of the abuse of the other children was never made public. However, neighbors reported that the children were “rarely seen” and, according to police, they were required to call their father “Lord” and were afraid of him, fearing that he would do to them “what he did to Jadon”.
Moses was sentenced to life in prison. Sisk was sentenced to 30 years, Smith to 24, and Harris to 12.
Date: February 23, 2011
Location: Durham, North Carolina