Rachel Koresh: Who Was She? How Did David Koresh’s Wife Die?

Netflix’s documentary series ‘Waco: American Apocalypse’ chronicles the life of Branch Davidian leader David Koresh and how he, along with several of his followers, died at the end of a 51-day siege by law enforcement agencies. While the ATF initially approached the movement’s Mount Carmel Center compound to serve a search warrant, the situation escalated into a firefight and a siege, ultimately resulting in calamity. David Koresh believed that God wanted him to have multiple wives and father 24 children, but he was legally married to Rachel Koresh for nine years. Let’s discover more about Rachel and find out how she passed away, shall we?

Who Was Rachel Koresh?

Rachel Koresh’s parents were longtime supporters of the Branch Davidian movement and were quite familiar with David Koresh. Born Rachel Jones, she was inculcated in the Branch Davidian faith from a young age and reports claim that she had multiple childhood memories of spending the summer months at the Mount Carmel Center ranch just outside of Waco, Texas. Growing up, Rachel grew quite familiar with David and had a close relationship with him, like most other children on the ranch. Moreover, her parents witnessed David’s rise to power and believed in his teachings and claims of being the Messiah.

Image Credit: CBS News/48 Hours

Sources claim that throughout David’s reign, he manipulated women and teenage girls into having sex with him in the name of religion. Hence, when he suddenly revealed that God had appeared to him in a dream and ordered him to take Rachel as a wife, her parents could not disapprove. Subsequently, Rachel married David when she was just 14-years-old and remained a faithful wife for over nine years until her death. Yet, even while being legally married to Rachel, David refused to stop having sex with other women, insisting that he was to father 24 children who would go on to be leaders after the apocalypse.

Naturally, Rachel was apprehensive of such behavior initially and was disappointed when her husband tried to sleep with her sister, Michelle. However, David explained that the Almighty gave him the vision to have sex with Michelle. Once Rachel dreamt of her husband’s death for not listening to God, she agreed to the union. Nevertheless, Rachel and David also shared two children, a daughter Star and a son Cyrus. Rachel remained committed to the movement until the end.

Rachel Koresh’s Tragic End: Perished in Compound Fire

On February 28, 1993, an ATF team arrived at the Mount Carmel Center compound with a search warrant as they information that David was amassing weapons and breaking federal gun laws. Unfortunately, the situation soon turned violent, with both sides exchanging fire, which led to the death of 4 federal agents and 5 Branch Davidian members. Subsequently, the FBI laid siege to the compound for 51 days as they tried to get the people inside to surrender. Although the efforts resulted in the rescue of nineteen children and a few adults, the rest of the Branch Davidian refused to give up.

Eventually, on April 19, 1993, the FBI chose to use tear gas in an attempt to force the rest of the members to exit the building. However, the primarily wooden building somehow caught on fire, with 76 Branch Davidians inside. Surprisingly, as the fire raged on, only a handful surrendered to authorities, while the others decided to stay with David. Once the flames subsided, authorities confirmed that David Koresh, his wife, Rachel Koresh, and numerous other Branch Davidian members, including several children, had passed away. It is said that Rachel, her brother, David, her sister, Michelle, and their children were inside the auditorium-cum-bunker when they perished in the fire.

Read More: Bonnie Sue Clark: Who Was David Koresh’s Mom? How Did She Die?