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Reyna Chicas, 32, is the leader of the “cult-like” group missing in Southern California, officials say.

Officials in Southern California issued an emergency alert late Saturday for six adults and eight children who are members of a “cult-like” group believed to be planning a mass suicide.

“They were awaiting the rapture or some other catastrophic event,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Captain Mike Parker said.

Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department, told a hastily called news conference covered by KNBC that the group believed “they were going to meet Jesus or deceased relatives.”

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He said deputies were searching the desert for the group, believed to be six adults and six boys and two girls. The children range in age from 3 to 17, Whitmore said.

The notes did not use the term suicide but did say “they wanted to go on to the next life,” Whitmore said.

Read entire article at MSNBC.com

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