January 17th, 2005
San Mateo Daily News
Cult 'prince' Kills former naked nanny
By Jason Green
Daily News Staff Writer
Angela Smith moved to Palo Alto to build a life with the man she loved, but the former nanny to a cult leader's son was instead slain during a trip to Arizona.
Smith, who worked at Restoration Hardware on University Avenue, was stabbed repeatedly and died at the Tucson apartment where the cult leader's son she once cared for lived. David Rodriguez, 29, who grew up in the 1970s cult "Children of God," was seen by many in the group as their "prince" who would lead them into the future. His future led to California, where he drove after the killing. After explaining to his wife over the phone from Blythe why he killed Smith, Rodriguez took his own life.
Services will be held tomorrow for Smith.
Rodriguez, 29, killed Smith, 51, Jan. 8, in his Tucson apartment, stabbing her three times and and slitting her throat and then later killed himself. Authorities believe Rodriguez killed Smith because of her role in the sexual abuse he endured growing up in the religious cult.
Carpenter, a Palo Alto resident and construction contractor, told the Daily News yesterday he met Smith through his father. She moved to Palo Alto less than three months ago to be with him, he said. Carpenter recalled Smith as someone who made friends easily and "touched a lot of lives."
"If the world was made up of more people like Angela, the world would be a much better place," Carpenter said, emotion welling in his voice. Growin up in the 1970s in the Children of God, Rodriguez was revered as "the prince." The group's leaders were his mother and stepfather, and they taught that their son would guide them all when the End Times came.
He was so special that his unconventional upbringing--by a collection of often-topless young nannies--was chronicled in "The Davidito Book," which was distributed to cult members as a how-to guide for rearing children. And children the cult had in multitudes.
On Jan. 8, Rodriguez invited Smith, his former nanny to go to dinner. He took Smith to his apartment, stabbed her to death, went to Chevrolet, drove west across the California border to a small desert town, Blythe, and called his wife on his cell phone to explain why he had killed Smith, the police in both states and Rodriguez's wife said.
Then with one shot from an automatic handgun, the police said, he ended his life.
The group lives on. What was known as a '60s cult that attracted members like the parents of the actor River Phoenix and Jeremy Spencer, the Fleetwood Mac guitarist, is now called the Family International.
A spokeswoman in Washington, Claire Borowik, described the organization as a Christian fellowship with 4,000 children and 4,000 adult members who lived in 718 communal houses in 100 countries. The group sends aid workers and missionaries to disasters like the recent tsunami. Its musical troupe, the Family Singers, have at various times sung in the White house.
E-mail reporter Jason Green at jgreen at dailynewsgroup.com.
San Mateo Daily News 1-7-2005 Page 1