August 3, 1978
Salt Lake City, Utah
Rachel David persuades her 7 children to jump off the 11th floor of their hotel; those who do not willingly jump are thrown off before Rachel jumps to her own death
The Davids were a religious family; the family patriarch, Immanuel David, had legally changed his name from Charles Bruce Longo, claiming he was a descendant of the biblical David. Immanuel held no job, but did have a small congregation of followers, and seemed to have money materialize from nowhere. Three days before the murder-suicide of his wife and children, Immanuel took his own life by carbon monoxide poisoning. Investigators speculated the suicide was to avoid an impending arrest for tax evasion and/or wire fraud.
While witnesses looked on, horrified, Rachel’s children leapt from the 11th floor of the hotel they had been living in for over a year. The eldest, a 15-year-old also named Rachel, was the first and also, miraculously, the only survivor. The crowd shouted “no” and “stop” at the family to no avail. The youngest child, 5-year-old Rebecca, grabbed onto the railing, forcing her mother to pry the young girl’s fingers away, leaving abrasions on her palm and broken fingernails on Rebecca’s hands. Once the children had jumped or were thrown, shouts from the spectators turned from pleas to stop to “jump you bitch…jump” to which the elder Rachel complied. It’s believed the family wished to join Immanuel in the afterlife.
According to a 1993 article in the Deseret News, a Salt Lake City news outlet owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Rachel believes her father will return. Now confined to a wheelchair due to the injuries she’s suffered from the fall, she has repeatedly attempted suicide. As of 2000, Rachel was living with her uncle and legal guardian, Jacob David.
Newspaper clipping: The Baltimore Sun. August 27, 1978