When a man walked into a Colorado police station last week to report a dead body in his home, the officers dispatched to the scene were likely not expecting to discover a mummified corpse, wrapped in Christmas lights, with glitter around empty eye sockets. The body was ensconced in a sleeping bag, lying on a bed, surrounded by "some kind of shrine," according to the Saguache County Sheriff’s Office.
Although both the coroner's office and law enforcement have not been able to identify the body through fingerprints, it allegedly belongs to Lia "Amy" Carlson, the leader of the Love Has Won cult, who often goes by the name "Mother God."
The man who alerted authorities of Carlson's body, Miguel Lamboy, claimed to be a member of Love Has Won, and said he found the body after returning home, where several other members of the group were staying in his absence. Seven adults were found and arrested in conjunction with Carlson's death; however, there were also two children — aged two and 13 — in the home at the time officers arrived. They appear to be in good health, but all seven adults will face child abuse charges.
According to investigators, affidavits, and media shared by Love Has Won, the group's members (with, perhaps, the exception of Lamboy) don't see this as a crime: This is their leader's "ascension." Now, a larger public investigation seeks to identify who Amy Carlson was, what she was teaching this group, and why her body was mummified in a bizarre shrine by members of her own cult.
According to The New York Times, Love Has Won kept a Facebook page (which has since been deleted) detailing some of their activities. On Sunday, May 1, a man who appeared to be a member of the group posted a video, during which he said “Mom has ascended" and "completed her contract," presumably referring to Carlson. He then says: “Is the mission over? No.”
So, what exactly is the mission of Love Has Won? The early history of the cult is not entirely documented, but according to Amy Carlson's children, who have since spoken out, the cult started about 15 years ago. That's when they said Carlson abandoned her family to teach “spiritual intuitive ascension sessions.”
“Everything in my life is very average except my mom is a cult leader, or was a cult leader, I should say,” Cole Carlson, Amy Carson's estranged son, told KDVR News.
Carlson also claimed on the group's now-defunct website that she was on her “534th reincarnation in my quest to recover my beloved Planet,” and that her past lives included Jesus Christ and Marilyn Monroe.
Although the cult appeared to be a local organization, with a few members living with Carlson, one former follower — Andrew Profaci — said that Love Has Won reached thousands of people, often recruiting people through social media and YouTube videos. A Vice News documentary from March 2021 detailed how Carlson would promise her followers "a superior alternative reality" if they provided the organization with financial compensation.
This is where Love Has Won was able to support itself and grow — and also where local people in Crestone, CO, the town where Carlson and her group lived, began to accuse them of brainwashing people into handing over control of all their personal finances for fraudulent purposes.
A Crestone town clerk told The New York Times that, over the course of the last four years, she often received calls from family members of those who had joined the cult trying to locate or contact them. But she always relayed the same thing: that the town of Crestone had no affiliation with Love Has Won, and the missing persons should be reported to the Sheriff's office.
The cult never made more than local headlines until the past few months, when Carlson and 14 of her followers were supposedly forced to evacuate and fled to Hawaii. In September, Maui law enforcement intervened after protestors condemned the group's presence on the island. One of the members then told police officers, who intercepted their travel plans, that the reason they traveled to the island was because of Carlson, who they alleged had cancer and was in poor health.
Profaci told CBS Denver that he "was not surprised" to hear of Carlson's death. “She was not in very good health and getting worse,” he said. But others did not seem to mourn her — instead, Love Has Won followers continue to celebrate Carlson's "ascension" as part of her work, teachings, and the group's overall goals.
An investigation into Carlson's death is ongoing, with all seven people likely to be charged, as officers begin to piece together other damages that Love Has Won caused. But for now, members continue not to mourn, but to celebrate.
“Her essence left the body of Amy Carlson at 12:22,” one follower posted on Facebook. “She is indeed happy now.”