[Editor’s note: Much of the information in this serial was provided by members of the Cordell and McCoy families in Indianapolis. The deleted information from the memorandum – designated by brackets – which is known to the editor has been indicated by red type.]
0 25222105Z NOV 78
FM INDIANAPOLIS (89-181) (P)
TO DIRECTOR FBI (89-4286) (IMMEDIATE)
SAN FRANCISCO (89-250) (IMMEDIATE)
LOS ANGELES (IMMEDIATE)
RYMUR, 00: SAN FRANCISCO
Indianapolis indices negative regarding [deleted name] [Gene Cordell] and his brother [deleted name] [Don Cordell].
[line deleted, information relating to Gene and June Cordell] telephone [number deleted] (unpublished) advised he and his wife [deleted name] [June Cordell] became acquainted with Rev. Jimmie Jones in Indianapolis in the early 1950’s. Jones was selling monkies [monkeys] door-to-door to raise money for his church, however [Gene Cordell] and his wife split with Jones in the late 1950’s, probably 1957, after Jones
PAGE TWO IP 89-181 UNCLAS
had a meeting with a Father Devine [Divine] in Philadelphia. After Jones’ meeting with Father Devine in Philadelphia Jones became very dogmatic and wanted to assert full and sole leadership of any and all congregational activities.
[deleted information] Edith Exell Cordell, aka Dee Dee, white female, age 77, sold all of her personal belongings in Indianapolis including property which had been willed to the above-mentioned [Gene and Don Cordell] and followed Rev. Jones to California in 1965 and ultimately to South America. Edith Cordell gave all of her money and worldly possession[s] to Jones and her current fate is unknown. [deleted information] Carol Ann McCoy, nee Cordell, white female, DOB September 9, 1945, who also was a [an] ardent follower of Jones and is believed to be currently in Guyana, fate unknown. McCoy’s ex-husband, [name deleted] [Lowell McCoy], is former member of the Peoples Temple currently residing in Indianapolis and will be interviewed. [name deleted; either Don or Gene Cordell] feels Rev. Archie Imes [Ijames], aka Brownie, of the Peoples Temple mission currently in San Francisco, California would be the most likely
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to take over leadership of the Rev. Jimmie Jones cult and in Jones’ absence would direct all of the following. [name deleted; either Don or Gene Cordell] is suspicious of Imes and feels that Jones in the past used wiretaps and drugs to influence church membership but has no evidence of same. [Deleted information] in Guyana: Harold Cordell, age 40 from Indianapolis, believed to have survived the murders and suicides there while on a basketball trip to Georgetown, Guyana; Loretta Cordell, wife of Harold, age 38, also from Indianapolis and their three children, Chris, white male age 23, Candice [Candace], white female age late teens and third child, name unknown [Cindy], all whose fate is unknown; Barbara Cordell, wife of [Deleted information] Richard Cordell and their three children, including Mark, white male age 19, also believed to have survived the murder-suicide by line basketball trip to Georgetown, Guyana and two other children, names unknown [Rita and Richard]. The above-mentioned Barbara Cordell is divorced from husband Richard Cordell currently in Spokane, Washington, telephone number 206-848-3883. Richard Cordell apparently has received telephonic communication from his brother, the above-mentioned
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Harold Cordell and may have information regarding recent happenings in Guyana. The fate of [Deleted information] Carol Ann McCoy and [Deleted information] Edith Exell Cordell is currently unknown, however they are both believed to be in South America, probably Guyana[.]
[Gene Cordell] explains the great following of Jones in his theory of the Pied Piper, mainly indicating most of the following of Rev. Jones are of low mentality, low socio-economic level and have no strong personal feelings or mind of their own. [Gene Cordell] stated there was nothing in Jones’ background to indicate anything such as murder, mass suicide and/or assassinations and he has no information regarding in the past such activities or correct plans for future activities. The only incident of violence which he can recall regarding Jones was in 1957 when he and his wife witnessed the beating of an elderly woman in a nursing home run by Rev. Jones in the 2300 block of North College in Indianapolis. This meeting took place in his presence and was performed by Jones’ adopted daughter, Agnes Jones. Agnes Jones allegedly hit and kicked
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an elderly woman and later that evening when it was brought to Rev. Jones’ attention he told [Gene Cordell] and his wife that it was none of his business and that he should mind his own business.
[name deleted; either Don or Gene Cordell] stated that other people who are knowledgeable regarding the Peoples Temple are [name deleted] of Sun Valley, Idaho, Rev. [name deleted] of the Calvary Tabernacle in Indianapolis and [information deleted] Richard Cordell in Spokane, Washington.
Seattle at Spokane, Washington. Interview Richard Cordell, telephone 206-848-3883 regarding any knowledge you may have regarding Rev. Jones and Peoples Temple.
Indianapolis at Indianapolis, Indiana. Will interview [name deleted] and Rev. [name deleted].