With Netflix’s ‘Waco: American Apocalypse’ revisiting the 1993 standoff between the federal government and the religious Branch Davidians, we get a true insight into the 51 days that changed our world. After all, it features first-hand accounts from not just cult members but also former officials to really shine a clear light upon arguably one of the biggest as well as controversial sieges in history. Amongst them was none other than then-9-year-old child survivor Heather Jones — so now, if you wish to learn more about her, her experiences, and her current standing, we’ve got you covered.
Who is Heather Jones?
Born around 1984 to Kathy and David Jones in Waco, Texas, Heather Jones was actually raised at the Branch Davidians compound of Mt. Carmel Center, just like her parents as a generation member. Hence, she was always surrounded by family members like her loving grandparents, warm aunts, caring uncles, and fun cousins, plus even sect leader David Koresh was her uncle by marriage. “The kids used to play in the front yard [of the huge property],” she candidly reminisced in this Tiller Russell-directed documentary series on Netflix. “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 sexual 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.”
Nevertheless, 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.”
Where is Heather Jones Now?
Following the tragic events of April 19, 1993, Heather Jones admittedly “started having bad nightmares. I don’t remember what happened, but they were really bad. About David, about the fire. I wanted my Dad… I didn’t want to be left alone.” Thankfully, she wasn’t actually utterly alone as she and her siblings got to move in with their mother shortly after, who then worked hard to enroll them into a Waco-area public school to offer them a sense of normalcy. The truth is even though three decades have passed by, she still gets depressed every year around this time since it’s an ordeal she can never really forget.
Coming to Heather’s current standing, from what we can tell, she continues to reside in Texas to this day, but she now prefers to go by Heather Nicole Burson as a married mother of three. It’s, unfortunately, unclear precisely what she has been up to over the last few years in terms of details, yet she has made it evident she has turned her back on religion in its entirety. Heather doesn’t necessarily blame the fire on David or the FBI, but of course, she believes it would’ve been much better if both sides had tried to understand the other’s point of view — it’s why she still often visits Mt. Carmel.