Ricky Rodriguez

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ricky Rodriguez
Rodriguez, circa 2000
David Moses Zerby

(1975-01-25)25 January 1975
Died9 January 2005(2005-01-09) (aged 29)
Other namesDavidito; Richard Peter Rodriguez; Richard Peter Smith
Known forSon of cult leader, committed murder-suicide

Ricky Rodriguez (25 January 1975 – 9 January 2005), a.k.a. "Davidito" (legal names "Richard Peter Rodriguez", "Richard Peter Smith" and "David Moses Zerby"), was a former member of the Children of God (COG), now known as The Family International (TFI), who committed a murder-suicide in 2005.

Childhood and sexual abuse[edit]

Rodriguez was born in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. He was the biological son of Karen Zerby and a local hotel employee there whom she "Flirty Fished". He was considered to be the adopted son of David Berg, Zerby's partner and leader of the COG, although no official adoption ever took place. Rodriguez later developed a deep-seated resentment towards Berg and Zerby, due to the sexual abuse he had suffered as a child.[1]

Adulthood and murder-suicide[edit]

When Rodriguez grew to adulthood, he married Elixcia Munumel, whom he had met during a visit to a Family home near Budapest in 1995, and together they separated from TFI in 2001.

In September 2004, after separating from his wife, Rodriguez moved to Tucson, Arizona, and worked as an electrician. According to accounts by his friends and relatives, he moved there because he heard his mother had visited and he wanted to find her, her location being secret to him, because he had spoken out about his childhood.

In January 2005, he arranged a meeting with a former associate of his mother's who was involved in his childhood sexual molestation, Angela Smith (formerly Susan Joy Kauten), and stabbed her to death in his apartment. He then drove to Blythe, California, where he shot himself in the head. He had earlier filmed a video, where he explained what he planned to do. He mailed this to a friend,[2] where it was received a few days after the murder-suicide, and then released to the public. According to an article in the New York Times, in the video he said he saw himself as a vigilante, avenging children like him and his sisters, who had been subject to rapes and beatings. "There's this need that I have", he said. "It's not a want. It's a need for revenge; it's a need for justice, because I can't go on like this."[3]

A&E's Cults and Extreme Belief, episode 3 (2018) is about Children of God, its victims and survivors, and focuses in part on Rodriguez.[4]


  1. ^ "Story of Davidito". The Family International / Children of God. xFamily.org. 2008-09-01.
  2. ^ Marie Claire magazine, Australia: "Killing Myself Is the Only Way Out of the Cult" — 2005-04-19
  3. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (2005-01-15). "Murder and Suicide Reviving Claims of Child Abuse in Cult". New York Times. p. A-1.
  4. ^ Cults and Extreme Belief S1E3, aired June 5, 2018. Retrieved June 13, 2018.

External links[edit]