Sheriffs Search for 13 Members of L.A.-Area 'Cult'

LOS ANGELES -- Five adults and eight children from a "cult-like" group in Southern California were reported missing by their families Saturday, and the group left behind letters that they were awaiting the rapture, authorities said.

Husbands of two group members, who are from the Palmdale area in northern Los Angeles County, reported the people missing early Saturday, and sheriff's deputies were searching for three vehicles.

One of the men had a purse he was asked to hold by one of the group members, and inside were identifications, deeds to property, and letters indicating they were awaiting the end of the world.

"They were awaiting the rapture or some other catastrophic event," Parker said.

The group's leader, Reyna Marisol Chicas of Palmdale, was among the missing, Parker said.

Parker said the group had been members of a mainstream Christian church, and members had expressed concern to their families about their unorthodox beliefs.

Parker said authorities are searching for three vehicles: a silver Toyota Tundra pickup, a 1995 Mercury Villager and a 2004 white Nissan.

This is a breaking news update. Check back soon for more information.