As a Netflix original documentary series revisiting one of the deadliest sieges in history, ‘Waco: American Apocalypse’ can only be described as equal parts baffling, intriguing, and heartbreaking. That’s because it comprises interviews with not just former federal law enforcement officials but also religious cult Branch Davidian members to shine a light upon the reality of the 51-day standoff. Amongst them was survivor Kathryn “Kathy” Schroeder — so if you wish to learn more about her, her belief system, as well as her current standing, we’ve got the essential details for you!
Who is Kathy Schroeder?
Although Kathy did have a rather religious upbringing, it ostensibly wasn’t until she returned to her home state of Florida following three years of service in the Air Force that she found her calling. The divorced mother of three actually soon reconnected with her high school beau Michael “Mike” Schroeder, whose attraction to the Seventh-day Adventist Church quite interested her as well. It was thus no surprise they were also fascinated after learning of David Koresh’s new holy message for the Branch Davidians, making them pack up their bags and relocate to Texas in 1989.
For Kathy, Michael, as well as almost every other member of this group, the aim was to “live for God” at Mt. Carmel Center near Waco, and it’s just that their leader David claimed to be the Messiah. The couple did quickly learn he’d abolished marriages in the sect too, but they still went along with it despite having a son of their own. Hence, the family of five separated without really separating. Yet, according to her accounts, they were genuinely happy since they had a purpose they were actively working towards; it was being closer to God in every way, so she even lay with David.
It’s actually imperative to note Kathy has vehemently defended David in regard to his alleged sexual relations with extremely underage girls as well — as in girls much, much younger than 18. “People think that a man having sex with a bunch of underaged girls is crime,” she candidly said in the Netflix production. “And in conventional wisdom, this could probably be very well true. However, these weren’t underaged girls because you come of age at 12. All these girls were adults in our belief system.” In other words, her loyalty to him and their mission has always been unwavering.
The truth is this was why Kathy was reportedly even a part of David’s The Mighty Men group, which was basically his little army of active protectors within the massive Mt. Carmel Center compound. In fact, per her narrative, she was confidently given a hand grenade during the early days of the siege, with orders to kill herself and the four other individuals in her room if something went south. Yet, since her kids had already been released into federal custody and she felt her youngest needed her too much to continue on, she left on March 12, 1993, 38 days before things came to a head.
Where is Kathy Schroeder Now?
Even though Kathy Schroeder immediately cooperated with officials by telling them what had been happening inside her home from the beginning of this complex ordeal, they arrested her shortly thereafter. She was allowed to spend time with her 3-year-old and had learned her spouse had sadly been killed on the first day of the shootout, on February 28, but that’s all before they took her into custody. As for her three elder kids, they were under the care of their father in South Dakota by this point — Air Force Sgt. William Mabb had managed to gain rights as he already had shared guardianship.
Kathy was actually charged with first-degree murder for “knowingly, willfully, and unlawfully, conspiring and agreeing … to attempt to kill with malice aforethought several special agents of the Bureau of ATF.” However, because she alone agreed to testify against others facing legal trouble in connection to this matter, she was ultimately sentenced to three years behind bars on the reduced count of resisting arrest. From what we can tell, she was released around the expected time, following which she returned to her home state of Florida for good — she is currently based in Tampa.
It’s, unfortunately, unclear precisely what Kathy has been up to these days, but we do know she had blissfully welcomed her fifth child into this world with a then-incredible boyfriend in 1999. Plus, most of her elder kids also returned to her once they came of age, meaning she likely continues to be surrounded by her warm, loving, caring family at every step of the way in Tampa, Florida. Yet the most significant aspect we need to mention is the fact she still believes living for God is the most important thing; this belief system is admittedly a part of her she’ll never let waiver, no matter what.
According to the last reports, Kathy knows that if the haunting siege had never transpired three decades prior in 1993, she would still be an active part of Mt. Carmel Center as a Branch Davidian. She wouldn’t have forced her kids to remain behind if they wished to leave once they grew older, as forcing her faith onto someone is not her style, but she would’ve asked for no judgment in return. Nevertheless, now, all Kathy has is her own position with God, which she follows without any rituals or dietary restrictions, all the while trying to help her kids be as open-minded as possible about everything.