Who’s who in the Colt incest family
WHEN police and caseworkers disbanded the Colt incest family after four decades of evading detection, the closely knit clan fled their bolthole in the hills behind Boorowa, NSW.
The squalid bush block just under a square kilometre in size exposed by a children's court judge six years ago as the filthy ramshackle setting for incestuous relations went up for sale.
With 12 children removed from the clan of 38, the adults scattered to remote locations in different states.
Their parents, June and Tim, who reportedly fathered some of his daughters' children, were long dead.
June and Tim's comparatively carefree years of flitting from state to state with their family to avoid authorities closing in on them were over.
With the court judgment published as an extreme example of bizarre incestuous relations stretching back four generations, the Colts' depraved past was laid bare.
And within the NSW Police, the State Crime Command's Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad quietly established Strike Force Hermoyne to investigate allegations of incest, child sexual assault and serious neglect.
Desperate to deny the truth unmasked by science, a Colt family spokesman refuted the validity of DNA tests which revealed 14 children born to the clan had interrelated parents.
Family matriarch Betty Colt had five of her 13 children proven to have parental consanguinity or incest.
The youngest of the seven Colt siblings, Martha's five children all had a father related to their mother.
Betty's daughters Raylene and Tammy's four daughters, one of who had died from the rare genetic disorder Zellweger syndrome, had all tested positive for parental consanguinity.
But Betty was still in denial.
On January 6 this year, she posted a photograph on Facebook of herself, daughter Raylene and niece Tracey with their arms around one another's shoulders.
Below the picture in colourful writing with heart cutouts, were the words: "Love makes a family".
Betty's son Dwayne, who had been taken into care, posted on Facebook beside the photo "much love", to which Betty replied, "right back at you".
Betty's teenage son Brian, also removed from her to care, picked up and republished the motto on Facebook.
In March, Betty posted a photograph of her smelling roses with the words, "keep smiling … no time for haters".
By this time, Betty was living in the Riverland region of South Australia where her parents had once settled the family.
She was in a house with daughter Raylene, son Derek and another son, Joe.
The eldest of the adult Colt siblings, Rhonda had gone back to the Western Australian wheatbelt area.
Following his wife's death, patriarch Tim Colt had lived there with his children and grandchildren before his 2009 death prompted the siblings' fateful move to NSW, which resulted in their detection.
Rhonda Colt moved with her brother Frank and the eldest of her six children, Cliff.
Another brother Charlie and his sister Martha, who at the Boorowa farm had slept together in a "marital" bed, moved to Griffith where they were joined by one of Martha's sons once he turned 18.
But Strike Force Hermoyne was still working on a case against the Colts.
And on Thursday, April 6, news emerged that the NSW Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad had arrested eight members of the Colt family in three states.
Charlie and Martha were arrested in Griffith, Betty, Derek and Raylene in South Australia, and Rhonda, Cliff and Frank in WA.
Raylene has since been released on bail, while other members have unsuccessfully applied for bail, or have release applications pending.
In court appearances, by video link from different Sydney prisons, Colt family members have wept, claimed to have been bashed in jail or looked bewildered and defeated at their first experience of incarceration.
Here is a who's who of some Colt family members:
Arrested in South Australia's Riverland region, 51-year-old Betty Colt is charged with perjury.
She recently withdrew a proposed bail application and is now expected to appear in court again in October.
The mother of 13 children, Betty has five fathered by a relative or close relative, Bobby, Billy, Brian, Dwayne and Carmen.
Dwayne told caseworkers that his father was also Betty's father Tim and that he and his siblings were told never to tell anyone but her father had started having sex with her when she was 12.
Betty Colt contends that the father of all her children was a man named Phil, who she lived with in a de facto relationship and who died in 2007.
But she conceded that "Phil" was known within the Colt family as "Tim".
Betty is big on family values, very close to sons Bobby and Billy, and the NSW Children's Court judged her as "enmeshed in the family" and not "willing to disentangle herself from her family"
The eldest of the Colt siblings, Rhonda is about 52 years old and in prison having failed in her bid to be released on bail for her charge of perjury.
Rhonda has five children, the eldest Cliff who is a co-accused, and the youngest Cindy, who was five years old when she was removed from the Boorowa farm.
Although testing negative and not the child of related parents, Cindy was nevertheless removed despite the fact she presented as "well-spoken polite, bright, intelligent".
She was found to be sexualised and had claimed to carers that her cousin Dwayne had sex with her inside the Boorowa farm cubby house.
In prison custody, her lawyer has claimed, Rhonda Colt has been bashed.
During a court hearing in July, Rhonda looked drawn and weary sitting in a prison video cubicle at Silverwater Correctional Centre.
The court heard that Rhonda's family was adept at fleeing across borders overnight to avoid arrest by police pursuing charges of inbreeding.
Prosecutor Mardi Cartwright said the Colts had ties in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria and that Rhonda "has an understanding of police methodology and knows how to avoid police".
"(She) is known to travel overnight to avoid apprehension," Ms Cartwright said.
"There is evidence of generational and interfamilial abuse and a history of coercive tactics to avoid detection … and the notice of police."
Ms Cartwright said the mentally and physically impaired children could be lured back into the family fold and placed at risk of "physical, emotional and sexual abuse".
Rhonda Colt wept as she was denied bail.
CHARLIE AND MARTHA COLT
Charlie, 45, has been charged with offences including six counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10 years old, aggravated act of indecency, indecent assault and common assault.
Charlie slept with his sister Martha, 39, at the Boorowa farm and was living with her when the pair was arrested.
All of Martha's five children have interrelated parents, some who may have been fathered by Charlie. An experienced musician, Charlie acted as the family's Santa at Christmases on the Boorowa farm.
Following the disbanding of the family by authorities, Charlie defended the Colts.
"Both my parents have passed away," he said, "These allegations are false.
"If you look at all the children, I don't think there's too many that look alike, to say that they're interrelated.
"I think it's disgusting the allegations they're making."
Despite photographs of some of the young Colt children indicating facial misalignment, Charlie didn't agree.
"Because a little girl's teeth doesn't quite form properly in the gums, I've travelled the world and seen that thousands of times," he said.
"You say her eyes aren't quite symmetric, you may be right, but that does not mean that she's a product of an evil act."
FRANK COLT AND CLIFF COLT
Frank, 48, was arrested along with sister Rhonda and nephew Cliff and is in custody charged with sexual intercourse with a child under 10 years old.
Cliff Colt, 36, is charged with four counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10, two counts of indecent assault and having sexual intercourse with a child aged between 10 and 14.
One of Betty Colt's oldest daughters. Raylene Colt has a daughter Kimberly who is now aged about 18.
Raylene contends that Kimberly's father was a man called Sven, whose last name she does not recall, a backpacker from Sweden or Switzerland who she met on a date in Victoria.
Genetic testing, however, discloses that Kimberly's parents were related.
Charged with perjury, Raylene is on bail.
Very close to Betty, Raylene has supported her mother since the 2012 raid and was living in South Australia working as a fruit picker when they were brought back to NSW.