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Texas cult leader Yisrayl Hawkins dies at 87, sources say

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Posted at 3:07 PM, Oct 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-10 18:07:50-04

ABILENE, Texas — Yisrayl Hawkins, 87, died at his home Friday in Clyde, Texas, according to three different sources close to the family.

Hawkins was the leader of a group called The House of Yahweh. He drew national attention after the Branch Davidian's standoff in Waco.

Also known as "Buffalo Bill" Hawkins, he started the group — referred to as a cult — in 1974 after serving as a Abilene police officer.

The leader predicted the end times on several occasions. The latest was in 2020.

“My job is to preach the Message of the Kingdom to the world, whether you will listen or not is up to you," he warned. "Look at how many people listened to Noah; don’t let that be you. Read this letter and get on our mailing list, so you don’t get caught in the flood."

In the early 2000s, there were allegations that Hawkins had up to 30 wives at one point.

"I've got a wife, one wife," Hawkins said in an interview broadcast on 20/20.

Hawkins was arrested on four counts of bigamy in February of 2008. The charges were later dropped. Hawkins did agree to pay a $2,000 fine and serve 15 months probation for child labor violations.

Many members live in run-down trailer homes. The leader had a well-guarded, two-story home.

Many members have fled the group. Hawkins's ex-wife Kay Hawkins wrote a book about her experience and appeared on Dr. Phil.

We reached out to the House of Yahweh. They have not released a statement.

Nick Bradshaw at KXXV first reported this story.