News coverage of Kathy Hunter trip

[Editor’s note: These transcripts of newspaper stories and radio broadcasts were typed by Temple members.]

Santa Rosa Press Democrat – Tue. June 27 – p. 3A

JONES CHURCH LINKED TO TERROR REIGN

Two men allegedly broke in to the home of Ukiah newspaper woman Kathy Hunter and, capping what she described as a three week campaign of terror, forcibly poured a bottle of alcohol down her throat.

The campaign, according to Geo. Hunter, executive director of the Ukiah Daily Journal, began when accounts of his wife’s experiences with Jim Jones and Peoples Temple in South America were published in the Press Democrat. “It’s no put on” he said. Mrs. Hunter was found on her kitchen floor about 9:00 pm Sunday by her 33-year-old son Michael. “She was hysterical” he said. Hospitalized after the incident, Mrs. Hunter said that two black men walk through the unlocked doors of her kitchen, dragged her, and forced her to drink the alcohol. Ukiah police are investigating the incident. “We are taking it at face value,” said Sgt. Dick Perry. Detective Harold Porn said he doesn’t know if any sundry incident is connected to a window smashing at the Hunter home last week, while Mrs. Hunter was sitting nearby. She cut her hand when she opened the drapes to investigate. The reporter, who tried to visit the controversial Rev. Jones’ outpost in Guyana said that she has been receiving threats ever since her story appeared in the Press Democrat. An anonymous woman caller allegedly told Hunter that “Jim knows what you are doing. If you goes down, you and your family will go down with him.” Another caller threatened to kill the Hunters, according to a police report. Michael Hunter, a legal assistant at Legal Services Foundation in Ukiah found an ominous note at his apartment Friday night. The note, made from letters clipped from a newspaper, was turned over to the authorities. It read, “Hey white trash. We know where you live. We watch you all the time. We know where you work, we know your home number, we know your trashy life’s flunky. You drive your big mamma’s car. Keep your ass clean and your mouth clammed up.” The Hunter’s son said his wife has received threatening calls, he says he plans to move his children out of town. Kathy Hunter declined to name the source of the alleged attacks. “I know in my heart who’s doing it, but I have no proof,” she said. Police said they are just starting to work on the case and didn’t speculate about suspects. Mrs. Hunter said she didn’t recognize the two men, described as medium-sized blacks in their 30’s. Her husband was away at the time, and Mrs. Hunter was home alone. She was treated for stomach pains at Hillside Hospital and released after several hours. Mrs. Hunter said one of the men pulled her by the scarf around her neck. Officers are checking fingerprints on the bottle of bourbon found in the kitchen. Police said neighbors didn’t notice anything unusual about the time of the break-in. Mrs. Hunter returned from South America last month after trying to reach Jonestown, the Peoples Temple farm colony in the jungles of Guyana. She said she was grilled by the hostile Temple members and later forced to leave the Guyana capital of Georgetown following a series of bomb threats at her hotel. Temple spokesman Charles Garry said Mrs. Hunter was in the country illegally. He was out of town today, and unavailable for comment.

[2]

KGO-AM radio news, 1:30 p.m., Friday, May 26, 1978

Raymond says the government of the South American country placed her in the Pegasus Hotel, following intensive interrogation by members of the Rev. Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple. Raymond said there was apparently a threat, direct or implied, over whether her story would come out pro-Jones or anti-church, and at that point the protective custody was applied. Her husband, George Hunter, has been in telephone contact with Kathy Hunter and says she hopes to leave Guyana tomorrow, and would have left earlier, had it not been for an airlines strike.

KCBS-AM radio news, 5:00 p.m.

… reporter who is in Guyana investigating the controversial Peoples Temple Church has been placed in protective custody by the local government. Managing editor of the Ukiah Daily Journal says Kathy Hunter has willingly spent the last week confined to a hotel in Georgetown, the capital city of Guyana. Hunter’s husband, George, has been in telephone contact with his wife: (George Hunter speaking – “In my conversations with Kathy, she had reason to believe that we were not alone, in other words that the lines were being tapped, so she did not choose to divulge too much.” Hunter was placed in protective custody after what authorities describe as “intensive interrogation” by members of the Peoples Temple. There apparently was a threat, direct or implied, over whether her story would come out for or against the Peoples Temple, and its leader, Jim Jones.

[3]

Channel 7, 6 pm news, Friday 5/26/78, Jerry Jenson, reporting.

“… Kathy Hunter works for the Ukiah Daily Journal. She went down to Guyana to do a story on Rev. Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple there. About a thousand of Jones’ followers are staying in Guyana, but their relatives here in California, most of them, want them to come home, because the relatives say that they have been brainwashed. Well, Hunter, the reporter, got in touch with Peoples Temple as soon as she arrived, but according to sources there, they treated her in such a forceful manner that the government now has put her under protective custody, she has not left her hotel room for a week, and worse yet, she cannot even get out of the country because the local airline is on strike.”

Channel 7, 11pm news, Sunday 5/28/78,

“Mrs. Hunter is home tonight after being stuck in Guyana for 2 weeks. She went to Guyana to do a story on Jim Jones and the Mission Settlement there. Back in the Bay Area tonight, Hunter told of police-state tactics used against her. She said she was held in her room in protective custody.

“Today Charles Garry told newspeople that Mrs. Hunter went to Guyana under false pretenses. Garry said that Mrs. Hunter claims she was invited by the Premier, he says that wasn’t true. He also says that she never actually saw Jim Jones.”

(Charles Garry) “As far as I’m concerned, she never got into the project. Had she gone to the project, she would have been welcomed by Jim Jones because there was a personal relationship between Mrs. Hunter and Jim Jones. As a matter of fact, Jim Jones has befriended her and her family over a long period of years.”

“While when asked about her impression now of Rev. Jones and the Peoples Temple, she said, with tears in her eyes, ‘…you would not want to hear about it at all.”

Channel 5, 11 PM news, Sunday 5/28/78, Marillee Beck, reporting,

“Reporter Kathy Hunter is in San Francisco tonight after a week of being held in protective custody by the Government of Guyana. She was in that South American country to do a story on the camp in Georgetown that’s run by the Peoples Temple. The Government during that her article might be negative, gave her special protection.”

[4]

Newscast of Channel 2, San Francisco. Friday, May 26, 10:00 pm

… Guyana to investigate the controversial Peoples Temple Church has been placed under protective Government custody. Managing Editor of the Ukiah Daily Journal says Kathy Hunter has been in a hotel room in Georgetown, for several days. The action followed intense questioning of Hunter by people from Jim Jones’ Temple. We talked to a Temple spokesman in Guyana this afternoon who says that “Hunter came to that country under false pretenses. He also says the reason Hunter is staying in her hotel room is because she is sick, not because she is under protective custody.

[5]

[Undated article from the Los Angeles Times partially cut off]

[Word cut off] harassed since visit to Guyana cult

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles – Mysterious visitors, assaulted her home, and threats against her family have haunted a free-lance reporter since she returned from a futile attempt to interview the Rev. Jim Jones at his Peoples Temple settlement in the Guyana jungle.

Kathy Hunter’s trip to the tropics last May turned into a bizarre nightmare, she said, when fires were set three times in rooms adjoining her quarters. Mrs. Hunter, who shifted suites after each blaze, said the fires started after an argument with Peoples Temple aides.

[4 paragraphs partially cut off]

Earlier, a lone assailant grabbed her when she went into her backyard one night to see why her dog was barking.

When she flew to Los Angeles to supply information about Peoples Temple to the district attorney’s major-frauds unit, Mrs. Hunter said two men confronted her in her hotel room and threatened her family.

[6]

Ukiah Daily Journal, May 29, 1978

“Hunter Home From Ordeal”: Freelance writer Kathy Hunter has returned home from Guyana where she had been in protective custody following purported threats by members of the controversial Peoples Temple there, but a Temple spokesman denied the wife of Daily Journal executive George Hunter was harassed.

Mrs. Hunter arrived in the South American country May 17th after she reported receiving an invitation from a Guyanese government official. She had met Prime Minister Forbes Burnham when she had written a story on his visit to Northern California several years ago. She later indicated however, the invitation “may have been a hoax”.

Mrs. Hunter, who formerly worked for the Daily Journal, but is not employed by the paper at this time and was not on assignment, according to Journal Publisher Jim Garner, arrived at S. F. International Airport last night, and was greeted by camera crews and reporters from Bay Area television stations.

She had been placed under protective custody by the Guyanese government shortly after her arrival in the country, purportedly after “interrogation” by a delegation of members from the Temple’s Agricultural Mission at Jonestown.

Mike Prokes, Associate Pastor and public information officer for the church formally based in Redwood Valley, claimed Mrs. Hunter may have misrepresented herself as a friend of the Guyanese Prime Minister.

Prokes said the church were [was] unaware she was coming to country and “bumped into her by accident” at Mrs. Hunter’s hotel. The Temple has been the target of recent attacks from parents alleging their children are being held at Jonestown against their will.

The Temple has denied their allegations, and recently arranged for parents to speak with their children via telephone from the South American country.

Originally posted on January 27th, 2020.

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