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New Mexico church leader now fasting

(*note: the headline to this story originally used the words “hunger strike” instead of “fasting”. The former headline had been written minutes after Wayne Bent published his post. I had not read Bent’s entire post. While some may debate “hunger strike” vs. “fasting,” I feel fairness calls for the word “fasting” in this story’s headline. I apologize for any confusion. -Mark Horner)

Strong City leader Wayne Bent says he is now fasting and will continue to do so until a girl taken by the state from his church’s property is returned to her parents.

Here is an excerpt from Wayne Bent’s post published on his Web site around 4:15pm today:

Today, I began a fast, as I did when I was in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. I will now abstain from eating until the child Willow is returned with no strings attached, or until God brings the deliverance that I seek from the present evil, or the answer to my inquiry of justice is clearly manifested, or I am gone from this life altogether.

On May 20th, 2008, a New Mexico grand jury indicted Bent on four crimes: Two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in the second degree, unclothed. And two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

New Mexico State Police arrested Bent May 6th.

After an ambulance responded to the Union County jail, Bent was released from custody May 9th. His son, Jeff Bent, posted the $55,000 bond.

Bent’s story has been featured on several American television programs, including Larry King Live and FOX News. But the story first found an audience in a British documentary last December. A re-edited version of that documentary appeared on the National Geographic Channel earlier this year.

In an e-mail received at 4:17pm today, Jeff Bent tells Beyond90Seconds.com:

The court declined an emergency hearing today regarding the conditions Willow is having to endure at the hands of CYFD. The initial ten day hearing was never completed and we are going on six weeks now since she was taken. The new post gives all the details.

You can read the remainder of Wayne Bent’s pledge to fast here.

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UPDATE: Here is the story as it appeared on kob.com in Albuquerque, New Mexico on June 7, 2008.

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