Billy Summers had only known Kent Hovind a couple days when Hovind told him about the convicted child sex offender who sometimes visited Hovind’s Christian amusement park.
They were in Hovind’s car, picking up supplies for Dinosaur Adventure Land, the creationist theme park that Hovind operates in a quiet pocket of Alabama. Hovind spoke about a longtime friend who had done time for battery and committing lewd acts on children under the age of 14. Hovind claimed the conviction was a sham, and that the friend was actually being persecuted for his work exposing the New World Order. But Summers was alarmed.
“In my head, I was like, ‘well, I’m stuck out in the middle of Alabama right now, riding along with him, so I can’t say nothing,’” Summers told The Daily Beast.
In interviews with former workers, and recordings from internal Dinosaur Adventure Land (DAL) meetings, people close to the theme park expressed concerns about Hovind’s cavalier attitude toward crime on the compound.
Hovind is a controversial young-Earth creationist who preaches that Earth is less than 10,000 years old and that dinosaurs rode on Noah’s ark. Behind his literalist interpretation of the Bible is a more creative interpretation of the law. Hovind previously served nine years in prison for a tax avoidance scheme. While he was behind bars, feds seized and sold an early iteration of DAL that Hovind operated in Pensacola, Florida. The park featured a zipline, a “fossil dig pit,” a creationist museum, and a tricycle racetrack. Rather than relaunch the Pensacola park after his release from prison in 2015, Hovind opened a new DAL in Alabama.
But DAL’s woes now go far beyond Hovind’s tax trouble that shuttered the first park.
“I wanted a ‘Man of God’ who I could trust.”
Since Hovind launched his latest incarnation of DAL in 2016, two of his wives have left him—one citing financial concerns with the park and the next after he assaulted her. Volunteers and staffers have also quit DAL over a range of grievances. Among their concerns are repeated visits to DAL by Hovind’s sex offender friend, who allegedly molested a child at the park; the drowning death of a different child in a pond used for baptisms; Hovind’s assault of his now-ex wife; allegations of theft of ministry money by a Hovind colleague; the arrest of that colleague for a drugged-out alleged carjacking; a late-night evidence removal operation by more than a dozen church volunteers; and the fatal shooting of a dog near DAL.
“The property is gorgeous, but it’s the inside; the inside of it is what’s dark,” Julie Shunk, Hovind’s former secretary who lived and worked at DAL for three years, told The Daily Beast. “A lot of people don’t know this. The devil comes as an angel of light, too.”
An Evangelist With a Checkered History
Many of Hovind’s flock live in cabins and campers on the 140-acre Dinosaur Adventure Land property in Alabama’s rural Conecuh County. The theme park features animals, playgrounds, a “science center,” a swimming-and-baptism pond, and statues of dinosaurs which Hovind and other creationists believe co-existed with humans mere thousands of years ago. (“The devil, I think, is using the dinosaurs to teach boys and girls the earth is millions of years old, and it’s propaganda,” Hovind told a local news outlet. “It’s not true at all.”)
Some of DAL’s residents and staffers began as vacation-goers. Mark Stoney, a former DAL worker, first came to the compound for what he expected to be a brief visit.
“I was only gonna stay the afternoon, but somehow [Hovind] convinced me to stay and put me to work on some projects, which was kind of what I was interested in doing,” Stoney told The Daily Beast.
He finally left after three days and returned to his parents’ house, where he expressed his desire to live and work at DAL for a month with his young daughter. His parents objected, but after a 15-month custody battle, Stoney and his daughter moved to DAL the same weekend he got her back.
Hovind’s checkered history was a matter of public record. A well-known tax protester who once boasted of not filing a tax return “in 30 years,” Hovind has had repeated run-ins with the law. The incidents ranged from his refusal to secure permits for his original Florida-based DAL, to a 2006 conviction on 58 charges related to tax evasion. His then-wife Jo also spent a year in prison for the scheme. They later divorced.
“I’m like, ‘Dr. Hovind, you’re supposed to be sitting with the father, having sympathy for him and praying with him, not passing out your dinosaur cards so people can come …’ That’s just psycho to me.”
Other, more violent allegations followed him. In 2002, he was arrested for alleged assault, battery, and burglary on tenants in a house he owned. The case was later dropped after an alleged victim decided not to pursue the charges. “The situation was physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially draining,” she wrote online at the time. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Hovind denied the allegations, accusing his accuser of attempted extortion.
But Hovind remained popular in some Christian circles, where he’s better known for the decades of creationist children’s material he’s published under his “Dr. Dino” brand. “My 5 kids were raise[d] with his videos and I thought he was amazing!” Hovind’s second wife, Mary Tocco wrote in an open letter to Hovind’s fourth wife in 2021. “I wanted a ‘Man of God’ who I could trust.”
Tocco left Hovind in 2017. In a Facebook post explaining the split, Tocco described her increasingly frustrated efforts to ensure her husband and DAL’s finances were “above-board.” “It wasn’t long before I began noticing certain things that didn’t seem to add up. My list of concerns started slowly, and then began to grow,” she wrote. She claimed that when she brought her concerns to the DAL board, she was rebuffed. (Reached for comment, Tocco directed The Daily Beast to her Facebook statements.)
Hovind denied that DAL’s bookkeeping was out of order, and accused Tocco of trying to “take over” DAL’s board. “There’s nothing wrong here,” he said. “We have CPAs that do all of our stuff every year. Our trustees keep track of all that stuff. There’s never been any illegal dealings.”
Cindi Lincoln, Hovind’s third wife, also said she was initially charmed by the charismatic preacher. She first encountered Hovind through his video series while she was teaching preschoolers. After finishing the series in 2016, she learned Hovind was looking for workers at his new DAL. She packed her bags and moved from California to Alabama, where the theme park was still under construction.
“I started out in a tent and ended up Mrs. Hovind,” Lincoln told The Daily Beast. She married Hovind in July 2018. “By early 2020, I was experiencing huge red flags.”
“Shunk, who greeted them on arrival, noted that they did not appear to be related. Jones was white. The 11-year-old traveling with him was Black.”
DAL operated for years in a half-open state, receiving visitors and volunteers before formally launching in 2018. The park does not have liability insurance, Hovind confirmed to The Daily Beast, describing the park’s policy as “enter at your own risk.” And within two years of opening, the park would be the scene of a tragedy.
In March 2020, a visiting family’s five young children were swimming in DAL’s pond, which doubles as the theme park’s baptism pool. Stoney, who was also at the pond with his daughter, recalled a commotion when one boy appeared to be struggling in the water. Adults rushed into the pond and pulled the child to shore. But in the tumult, another boy, 7 years old, went missing. The boy’s father “ran back into the lake and tripped over his boy,” Stoney recalled.
The child was pronounced dead at the hospital, where DAL workers claim Hovind demonstrated something less than a bedside manner.
“Kent Hovind is walking around the hospital, passing out ministry cards saying, ‘come to Dinosaur Adventure Land, we’ll give you tours. We’re free. Everything’s free. Come see us,’” recalled Shunk, Hovind’s then-secretary.
“And I’m like, ‘Dr. Hovind, you’re supposed to be sitting with the father, having sympathy for him and praying with him, not passing out your dinosaur cards so people can come […] That’s just psycho to me. I don’t know what else to call it.”
“I do vaguely remember that,” Hovind said, when presented with Shunk’s account. “And yes, I probably did that. My business card has the plan of salvation. They’re actually gospel tracks. So I do that everywhere I go. I’m trying to get people saved. I’m an evangelist.”
Anyone claiming he acted inappropriately “must have some other kind of axe she’s grinding. That’d be my guess,” Hovind said, adding that the boy’s father “holds no grudge whatsoever. The dad loves our ministry. Matter of fact, he paid to have the gazebo built at the end of our dock in honor of his son.”
‘I Should Have Called the Police’
Meanwhile, Hovind’s third wife, Cindi Lincoln, was experiencing grave concerns about her new husband. (Among other things, Lincoln and Hovind are currently locked in a dispute over whether she loaned DAL the proceeds from the house she sold in California. Lincoln showed The Daily Beast a contract stipulating that she would receive $1,300 a month for 20 years. Hovind denies that DAL entered into a contract.)
“I discovered there was a coverup going on, and they tried to silence me,” she said. “They had me shunned. And ultimately, basically, he just kept doing strange and mean things to me until, basically, I fled.”
The coverup, she said, involved long-simmering allegations of drug use and pedophilia at DAL—the latter involving a good friend of Hovind’s named Chris Jones.
Court records show a pattern of allegations against Jones by minor boys. While looking after two young boys from his church in 2001, one of the boys got mud on his clothing. “While [the seven-year-old] was naked, [Jones] put him over his lap and hit him on his buttocks,” a court found.
In 2004, Jones befriended three other boys, ages 9, 11, and 12. “Defendant [Jones] told them before they watched the movie, they had to play strip poker,” a court decision reads. “Defendant produced a deck of cards and explained the game to the boys. He dealt the cards, told the boys who won or lost each hand, and directed the losers to take off some clothes. The boys did as instructed. Alex M. remembered he and Anthony M. stripped down to their underwear. Anthony M. remembered only himself getting naked. E.G. remembered the other two boys stripped him naked and took off their own shirts. During the game, E.G. noticed defendant’s ‘dick was getting larger and you could see it through his pants.’”
“‘Did you see Chris in bed with a kid?’ one DAL resident asks a ministry elder in the recording.”
Jones was convicted of three charges of lewd acts on children for the strip poker game, and an act of battery for the nude spanking. Jones was acquitted on other charges, including two more counts of lewd behavior toward children in the case of two other boys, and showing porn to a minor. (An early version of the criminal complaint also included a count of possessing child pornography, although that count was dropped in an amended complaint.)
Jones did not respond to repeated requests for comments.
When Billy Summers visited DAL as a guest in 2017, he learned of Hovind’s close friendship with Jones after mentioning that he lived in Aiken, South Carolina. Hovind replied that he knew a man from the area who sometimes visited DAL. Unprompted, Summers said, Hovind began explaining that Jones was a convicted child sex offender, but that the charges were trumped up, and that Jones had merely been playing strip poker with children.
Hovind “said something like, ‘but he [Jones] stopped at his, their underwear, so they did nothing wrong,’” Summers recalled.
After returning home from DAL, Summers remained perturbed about Hovind’s self-proclaimed friendship with Jones. He called Hovind with his concerns. A recording of the call, reviewed by The Daily Beast, shows Hovind painting Jones as a persecuted victim of the New World Order.
Jones got a job at “Bohemian Grove. That’s where they make all their plans for the New World Order,” Hovind says on the recording. “He got a job there and video taped a bunch of stuff and they wanted him in prison.”
A subject of fascination for early-2000s conspiracy theorists, Bohemian Grove is the site of an annual meetup for the rich and powerful. (During a 2021 DAL meeting, a recording of which was reviewed by The Daily Beast, Jones claimed to have provided footage of the Grove to Infowars founder Alex Jones, who he says used it in a documentary. Alex Jones’ assistant declined to state whether the Infowars boss used Chris Jones’ footage, because “we don’t talk to Demtards.”)
Summers was not convinced by Hovind’s explanation and made a YouTube video about his concerns. Hovind soon called him and demanded the video’s removal, voicemails reveal. Jones also called Summers, blaming his arrest on the New World Order, and downplaying his conviction.
“My actual crime? You wanna know what the technical crime was?” Jones asked on a voicemail, reviewed by The Daily Beast. “It was throwing an 11-year-old boy in the pool in his underwear. That’s my b-i-i-i-g sex crime.” Jones went on to note that “even if I am guilty, hopefully the blood of Christ works. At least you’re not questioning that. The blood of Christ works, man, we’re all forgiven and cleaned up.”
Among DAL residents, Summers’ video contributed to a creeping awareness of Jones’ past. By November 2019, when Jones made one of his occasional visits to DAL, residents were uneasy.
Shunk, Hovind’s then-secretary, recalled Hovind coming into her office and explaining that Jones was innocent but that people were “freaking out.”
“I go outside and yeah, people with kids there are taking their kids off of the property,” Shunk said. “People are super mad.” One father “told his wife to grab all their kids, put them in their cabin. Mark Stoney grabbed his child, went off campus. So did many other parents there with children. They left.”
“He’s got a right to wrestle with a kid if he wants and you’ve got a right to say ‘I’m not getting around Chris.’”
Asked about Jones, Hovind told The Daily Beast that Jones had done nothing wrong, either in his criminal case or at DAL. “He’s come to visit here twice, I think. Never spends the night,” Hovind said.
But Jones did spend the night near DAL during the Nov. 2019 visit. “Oh, that’s right,” Hovind recalled when reminded of the incident. “They did spend one night here.”
“They” were Jones and a young boy, whose name The Daily Beast is withholding. Shunk, who greeted them on arrival, noted that they did not appear to be related. Jones was white. The 11-year-old traveling with him was Black. Uneasy, Shunk went to make two beds for the visitors in a dorm-style guest room. Hovind intervened, she said.
“No, no, no, no, no,” she remembers Hovind saying. “They’re gonna go stay in the house next door.”
Asked whether he overruled Shunk, Hovind told The Daily Beast that “I don’t recall that at all. We have 25-some cabin spaces here. I gotta go for my Bible study now.” When he returned from the group Bible study, Hovind said Jones had stayed off-campus. Hovind handed the phone to another DAL resident who said Jones and the boy had stayed in a nearby house that was being managed by a DAL elder.
The house was just off DAL property, and has been owned by a series of DAL associates. Shunk and her husband had briefly stayed there, and were nearly finished moving out. The only thing left in the building was a queen-sized mattress. She said Hovind wanted Jones and the boy to share the bed.
“I said ‘Dr. Hovind, they can’t do that. It’s inappropriate,’” Shunk said. “And he’s like ‘it’s fine. I’m the boss. I’m in charge. Don’t worry about a thing. I got everything handled. You just go home and be with your husband. I’ll see you tomorrow.’ I said fine and I left. And so, to this day—I’m gonna be honest with you. I should have called the police.”
Asked whether Jones and the boy shared a bed, Hovind told The Daily Beat that he didn’t recall. “I was not in the room with them,” he said, adding that the child “is very emotionally unstable, I understand, and it wasn’t on Dinosaur Adventure Land property. But if [child] said ‘hey I’m scared, can I sleep with you?’ I don’t know that that happened but I don’t see—Chris is not a pedophile, if that’s what you or anybody else is driving at.”
(No one The Daily Beast spoke to made any similar allegations about the child’s emotional state. He “is one of the best kids I know,” his mother told The Daily Beast. “I just happen to be his mother.”)
DAL residents learned little about Jones’ visit at the time. But for some, his presence was a final straw.
“I had told Kent, you know, this is a much bigger problem that we need to be able to deal with,” Stoney said. “If Chris comes back, I’ll be leaving.”
When Jones returned in January 2021, Stoney kept his word. The day after Stoney’s departure, Hovind held a meeting with DAL residents and Jones in an attempt to allay concerns about Jones’ past. A recording of the meeting appears to confirm some allegations about Jones’ activity at DAL.
“Did you see Chris in bed with a kid?” one DAL resident asks a ministry elder in the recording.
“I’ve seen Chris rassling with a kid, which I didn’t think was appropriate, because when there’s any slightness of that [sex offense convictions], you don’t do that,” the elder responds. “I’m pretty sure I did. And I told Chris, no more of that.” The man goes on to explain that “I was mad at Chris because I got up, I said ‘Chris, what’s he in your bed for? You’ve got these charges? What the heck are you in bed with a kid for? Completely dressed.”
“The way people say things,” Hovind interjects, “that ‘he was in bed with a child.’ There’s a way to make it sound worse than it is.”
When DAL members complain that the situation looked bad in light of Jones’ convictions, Hovind argues that “that’s Chris’s decision and the kid’s decision. How people here react to that is their decision. He’s got a right to wrestle with a kid if he wants and you’ve got a right to say ‘I’m not getting around Chris.’”
Later in the meeting, a DAL secretary complains that Jones is harming the theme park’s reputation with families. During Jones’ previous stay, a mother of six children had called about a visit, but explicitly asked whether Jones was present. “I changed the topic because I did not want to lie but then I didn’t want to tell the truth because—I didn’t know what to do so I changed the topic,” the secretary says. “She realized that I did that and she said ‘that answered my question. We won’t be coming there anymore.’”
After some discussion, a ministry elder announces that, going forward, “if somebody calls this ministry and says ‘is Chris there?’ just simply say ‘the elders have got together, they’ve investigated it thoroughly, he’s welcomed here and we take all precautions for anybody visiting here.’”
But the matter was far from closed. Stoney, newly removed from DAL and upset about Jones’ presence, began looking for the child who’d shared a bed with Jones in late 2019. By summer 2022, Stoney made contact with the boy’s mother.
“I go outside and yeah, people with kids there are taking their kids off of the property. People are super mad.”
In a Facebook Messenger call that Stoney shared to YouTube in June, the boy’s mother claimed that Jones touched her son’s genitals through a paper towel during the DAL trip.
Reached for comment, the boy’s mother told The Daily Beast that Jones had been her boss at a Boost Mobile store, and that he sometimes volunteered to take two of her seven children to the mall. When he offered to take her son to DAL, she agreed, reasoning that Jones had never posed a problem to her children before. But she began to have misgivings after the boy arrived at the theme park where, she said, Jones and Hovind called and asked for permission for her son to share a bed with Jones.
“I said ‘no, that’s not okay,’” she told The Daily Beast. (During the 2021 meeting with DAL members, Jones defended his sharing a bed with the boy by claiming that he had called the boy’s mother, who he said had granted permission.) Five days after her son returned from DAL, she said, he told her he was confused about what he experienced at the park.
“I said, ‘what happened with you? Your face is almost pale and you feel like you need to say something but you’re scared.’” Her son told her that Jones had touched his privates with a paper towel, and that he was also frightened of his total lack of a memory of one night in the room.
In June, shortly after connecting with Stoney, the boy’s mother filed a complaint with the sheriff in Aiken County, South Carolina, where Jones lives. A redacted version of the police report, obtained via a Freedom of Information request, states that the mother called the sheriff’s office and stated that Jones “pulled [redacted] vict.’s pants down along with his underwear and touched his private area with paper towel. R/O [responding officer] has no further information at this time.”
If police conducted any further investigation, it does not appear in the FOIAed version of the report. On Aug. 16, the case’s status was changed to “closed.”
Hovind denied knowledge of the police report. “I’ve never heard of that report,” he told The Daily Beast. “Had to accuse him of something to put him in jail because of his political stance.”
Yet in a voicemail uploaded to YouTube by a Hovind acquaintance, the preacher appears to acknowledge a criminal complaint. In the voicemail, Hovind complains that the boy “is pressing charges against Chris Jones. This whole drama is never gonna quit, brother. Just completely ignore them,” Hovind says. He says something indistinct, then adds “a bunch of morons.”
Hovind told The Daily Beast that he did not remember the voicemail or its context. “I do not,” he said. “But you know, what happens in the rest of the world, I can’t control. And nothing happened here. If Chris did anything inappropriately—first of all, I don’t believe that for a second—but if he did, or maybe it’s an allegation, then you need to talk to him, not me. It didn’t happen here and we have nothing to do with it.”
Stoney and the child’s mother said they have spoken with investigators about the case.
“I ain’t gonna say no ‘allegation’ because my son don’t have no reason to lie,” his mother said. “At all. At all.”
Drugs, a Late-night Raid, and a Dead Dog
As DAL members fought over the presence of Chris Jones at the adventure park, another scandal was roiling the community—one that concerned DAL’s tech guy, Steve Lynn. Lincoln and former DAL resident Jodie Pittenger told The Daily Beast that Lynn tampered with a drug test that Hovind required for compound residents. When Lincoln and Stoney reported their concerns to Hovind at the time, they say they were accused of fomenting rebellion against the DAL leader, which set off the deterioration of Lincoln’s marriage.
Reached via phone, Lynn declined to comment, asking to answer questions via email. He did not return questions via email.
Nevertheless, by 2021, Lynn had admitted to drug use in court records. In August of that year, Lynn was arrested for alleged car theft. While disputing the charge in court, Lynn filed an affidavit blaming the incident on temporary drug-fueled delusion.
”I affirm that at the time and date of the offense,” Lynn wrote, “I was under a drug-induced Necessity or Duress, mistakenly believing that my adult son (who lives in Missouri), had somehow come to Alabama and was in the Monroeville Walmart, desperately needing my help, and I abandoned my $45,000 Jeep with the keys in it – and running, in the Marvin’s parking lot – where I took another man’s truck (likely valued around $10,000), that had its keys in it, and drove it to the Monroeville Walmart and parked it, where I had ran inside and that this false (but very real to me at the time), mental duress was still ongoing when and where I was arrested inside Walmart, and I did not resist the officer’s arrest.”
Audio recordings from a DAL meeting shortly after his arrest, reviewed by The Daily Beast, reveal Hovind acknowledging Lynn’s drug use. “Steve messed up. He got back into drugs. No question, he blew it,” Hovind tells congregants who express concern about Lynn’s arrest. He goes on to explain that, “because of the drug he was on, he was hallucinating, he thought the cops were after him, so he didn’t get in his car, he got in another car and took off.”
“My husband finally saw them all for the type of people they are.”
After Lynn’s arrest, Hovind sent followers to clear out Lynn’s house. Trevor Gifford, a former DAL resident, told The Daily Beast that he was on campus that night. “I was leaving there in a week so I wasn’t invited to the plunder but I remember that night very well,” Gifford wrote via text message. He continued that “I didn’t see them leave but I did see them return to DAL with the trailers full of stuff from Steve’s house.”
The late-night operation left some DAL residents wondering about the raid’s legality. During a meeting, DAL residents pushed Hovind on whether they were legally allowed to remove items from Lynn’s home, especially because some might belong to Lynn’s non-DAL clients.
“If he works for 15 other companies, how do you know all the stuff was CSE’s?” one DAL worker says on the recording, in reference to Hovind’s ministry, Christian Science Evangelism.
Another audio recording by former DAL carpenter Jeff Gubser, reviewed by The Daily Beast, shows Gubser raising concerns about the raid. “These things are legally questionable—like, cops questionable,” Gubser tells Hovind on the recording.
“Like what?” Hovind replies.
“Like being over at Steve’s. We’re clearing out his house with your sign, your phone number on the side of that van. Do you not think these southern people talk? You don’t think they see his face in the picture [a mugshot of Lynn in the newspaper], then they see your van outside of his house? Doc, you’ve gotta start making better decisions.”
Hovind confirmed to The Daily Beat that he had sent DAL workers to clear out the house. He gave the phone to a DAL resident who said they’d emptied the building because, due to hallucinations, Lynn thought police “were gonna go in there and ransack the place.”
Former DAL members also accuse Lynn of stealing ministry money and shooting a dog to death.
The morning after Lynn’s arrest, Hovind convened a DAL meeting, said Gifford, who attended the gathering. During the meeting, a staffer who’d driven Lynn home from jail told the group that, during the ride, Lynn had confessed to embezzling “tens of thousands of dollars” from the ministry. (Asked about the alleged crime, Hovind said Lynn had admitted to using a ministry credit card to “buy things that he really should not have and did not have authorization to. But I think he’s made most of that up. I mean, he’s repented and given us back some things.”)
The IT worker also removed cash directly from a donation box, Shunk claimed. “I was in the science center, giving the tour,” she recalled. “Steve Lynn pulls up in his car, drives right up to the doors, gets out, goes inside of the science center, unlocks the donation box, takes a wad of cash, shoves it right in his pocket, gets in his car and leaves.”
Shunk didn’t want to interrupt the tour and make a scene in front of visitors. But after the tour, she took her concerns to Hovind. “Dr. Hovind says to me, ‘Julie, Steve can do whatever he wants to do,’” she said.
(Hovind told The Daily Beast that “I don’t know that it happened, and I certainly would never say that.”)
“A lot of people don’t know this. The devil comes as an angel of light, too.”
Pittenger and her husband also accused Lynn of killing their dog, a hound named Bagel. The couple, at odds with some DAL residents, had by that time pooled resources with another couple and moved off campus to a house across from Lynn. Bagel frequently visited Lynn’s house to see his dog, to Lynn’s chagrin, Pittenger said.
After one such visit, Lynn texted Pittenger and her husband that Bagel had wandered onto his property, and that he’d returned the hound to Pittenger’s house. Pittenger found the message odd. She and her husband had been doing work in the yard all day, she said, and hadn’t seen Lynn come by with the dog.
They say they found Bagel’s bullet-riddled corpse on the side of a road near DAL the next day. When Pittenger and her husband accused Lynn, he denied the allegation. He produced security footage from his house, showing him holding Bagel by the collar—leading her, he said, to his truck to drive her home. But the footage was filmed hours after Lynn texted about dropping off Bagel, Pittenger claimed, and hours before the dog was found dead.
“If you drove from his yard to our yard, it would take less than a minute,” Pittenger said. “If you walked him, it might take five. But the length of time that it took him in the video to load Bagel up in the car and reappear back in his yard, going by the headlights on his car, he was gone 10, 15 minutes.”
At the time of Bagel’s death, Lynn was renting a home from Lincoln, who asked him to move out in summer 2020. Hovind agreed to have Lynn vacate the property by July 1 that year, she said. Lynn stayed in the house. “By December 23, I filed an eviction,” Lincoln said.
Lynn left the house in January 2021, but not before stripping it to the studs. “He stole my washer and dryer and took every fixture out of the wall. The thermostat, the phone jacks, the lights. He took the backsplash off the kitchen wall. He took the kitchen sink,” she said, adding that an electrician later surveyed the damage and told her that one of the severed wires (from a stolen dishwasher) “could have killed somebody.”
Lincoln sued Lynn and won an approximately $10,000 judgment in February 2022, after Lynn failed to show up at court. He has not yet paid her the money, she said.
Lynn is currently awaiting trial for his car theft arrest. Despite claiming in court records that “I do not have a criminal conviction history, in this state or any other state,” he has twice pleaded guilty to theft in Missouri, where he also has an open warrant, a clerk for the state’s Second Judicial Circuit Court confirmed to The Daily Beast. (The warrant regards Lynn’s failure to appear in a case of allegedly fraudulently using a credit/debit device.)
Hovind claimed to be unaware of the warrant when DAL residents asked about it in a meeting, recordings show. During that meeting, he also defended removing Lynn from the drug rehabilitation facility he entered after his arrest.
“Why did you take him out of rehab?” a woman asks tearfully on the recording.
“I took him out of rehab to go get his laptop up here, to get the passwords and stuff,” Hovind replies.
Hovind told The Daily Beast that Lynn now works in logging, not at DAL. They had lunch “a couple weeks ago.”
The Ex-Mrs. Hovind the Third
Despite the death of a child at the park and accusations that his friend molested another kid on his watch, Hovind still operates DAL and makes regular videos on YouTube, where he has more than 215,000 subscribers. Those fans help comprise what ex-DAL residents said was a steady churn of new supporters.
Meanwhile, Hovind is facing his own criminal case. In late 2020, he body-slammed Lincoln in their home, sending her to the emergency room, according to a protection order. Hovind also took an audio recording of the incident. The disturbing audio includes loud bangs and Lincoln’s screams while Hovind states “what are you doing, Cindi? Why would you jump on me and grab me, Cindi?”
Lincoln said Hovind later distributed the audio as evidence for his claim that Lincoln is bipolar. In 2021, he was convicted of domestic violence in the incident. He denies that he was abusive, and is appealing the ruling.
While the court case pends, Lincoln is trying to recoup money she lost on the loan she made to DAL, which constituted most of her retirement savings. The church stopped repaying the loan after she left Hovind, she said. She has been unable to find the loan’s signatory (a Hovind supporter) to serve him legal papers; the statute of limitations on a lawsuit expires this spring. Instead of retiring as she’d hoped, Lincoln, now 60, has re-entered the job market.
Another former DAL resident, James Duncan, went public with similar allegations in July 2021; he had been a DAL member in early 2021, attending the meeting with Jones. “I want to make public record Kent h]Hovind has clearly defrauded me entered into a trust with me in the name of D.A.L. and broke that trust costing me probably over a hundred thousand dollars,” Duncan, whose picture still appears on the DAL site, wrote in an anti-Hovind Facebook group.
The Daily Beast was unable to verify the allegation because Duncan died of suicide in late 2022. Hovind and DAL trustees told The Daily Beat that no such trust existed.
Duncan’s widow told The Daily Beast that she “cannot say one way or the other that there was a ‘formal’ trust. My husband had a knack for following conspiracy theorists,” she said, adding that she “tried to discourage his move down there.”
She said that her husband likely had approximately $100,000 in belongings that he moved to DAL. He was unable to retrieve his belongings when he left the compound, which set off a bout of “depression,” his widow said.
“My husband finally saw them all for the type of people they are,” she said, “and could not get over the big mistake and disappointment of moving his stuff there.”