The limited series 'Waco: American Apocalypse' looks back on the 51-day siege between the federal government and the Branch Davidians in 1993. It provides an in-depth examination of the event, with perspectives from cult members as well as former officials. One of the survivors of the siege was Heather Jones, who was nine at the time. Here you can find out more about Heather, her experiences, and where she is now.
#1. Who is Heather Jones?
Heather Jones, born in 1984 to Kathy and David Jones in Waco, Texas, was raised at the Branch Davidian compound of Mt. Carmel Center, the same place her parents grew up. She was surrounded by a loving family, including her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as David Koresh, who was her uncle through marriage. In a documentary series by Tiller Russell on Netflix, she fondly remembers, “The kids used to play in the front yard [of the property]. We had the go-karts there. It was like having 100 moms.”
However, Heather’s world tilted in 1990 as her mother packed her bags and left Mt. Carmel for good once their self-proclaimed Messiah abolished the whole concept of union/marriage for them. “After she left, I wasn’t allowed to be around my dad,” she conceded in the Netflix original while implying it was on orders of her uncle David as he subsequently began acting as her sole parent. In fact, she also referenced his alleged extensive loved relations with minors in regards to this by revealing he was affectionate to every other girl except her; all Heather said she got were brutal spankings.
“I remember, like, talking to the other girls that were 10 to maybe 13; they would giggle and laugh about being one of [David’s] wives one day and having his kids… but not me,” Heather said. “He was hard on me about everything, down to the spankings with a really big paddle. He would take me to his room, he would make me lay over his lap, and if I tensed up, he would put the paddle to my butt, and he’d be like, ‘Okay,’ before pulling it back again. He wouldn’t hit me until I was not ready for it. [This] was almost every day. A lot of people have told me that he was trying to groom me.”
Source: E Online
However, when the siege that’d begun on February 28, 1993, reached the point wherein the two parties were plainly negotiating, David agreed to release Heather from their closed center. The 9-year-old actually left on March 5, 1993, believing she would soon be able to reunite with her loving father, whom she was permitted to speak to on a phone call upon arriving at a secure location. But alas, little did she know this would be the last time she’d ever hear from him; he, along with almost every family member, passed away in the compound fire on April 19, day 51 — her grandfather had been shot on day 1.
Though the most traumatic aspect of it all for Heather was her recuse as well as watching the ultimate Mt. Carmel Center blaze on television from a far away Methodist Children’s Home. That’s because the former comprised her being surrounded by aggressive FBI Hostage Rescue Team men while they also tore apart the stuffed toys she’d been carrying to check for bombs. As for the latter, she could hear people working at the Methodist Home reportedly saying things like, “Their parents must not love [the children] enough. They just started a fire and killed themselves.”
#2. Where is Heather Jones Now?
After the terrible incident of April 19, 1993, Heather Jones stated that she began having "horrible nightmares". She could not recall what happened in the dreams, but recalled that they were related to David and the fire. She expressed her need for her father, not wanting to be left alone. Fortunately, her mother was able to help her and her siblings, who moved in with her and got enrolled into a public school nearby to help them find a sense of normal. Even though it has been 30 years since then, Heather still gets sad every year around this time due to the experience that she can never forget.
Heather is currently living in Texas, going by her married name Heather Nicole Burson, with three children. There is little known about what she has been up to in recent years, but she has made it clear she has completely rejected religion. She does not hold any resentment towards David or the FBI, but wishes both sides had been more understanding of the other's perspective. Heather still visits Mt. Carmel to this day.
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