In late October 2023, we learned about missing teen Blaze Thibaudeau. Blaze had been reported missing by his father Ben.
Blaze was thought to be with his mother Spring Thibaudeau; his 23-year-old sister, Abi Snarr; and his uncle Brook Hale, who is Spring’s brother.
Blaze was reported missing after his family spent thousands of dollars on survival gear, boarded a plane for Idaho and cut off all communication because they believed the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is imminent.
Ben spoke to East Idaho News and said “They see him as a Davidic servant (chosen individual) who plays a significant role in the Savior’s return. They feel they needed to take him to an undisclosed location where he would receive his calling and understand his role in the Second Coming. I fear for his safety, especially if my son is contentious, rebellious or belligerent. I fear that my brother-in-law would restrain him or do something that would incapacitate him.”
Ben says that Spring became interested in end-of-days religious topics in 2015. The couple regularly attended The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she gradually became obsessed with authors who wrote about the Second Coming, according to Ben. Spring began participating in energy healing sessions, and Ben became concerned.
“I requested that we go in and talk to our ecclesiastical leader. The bishop essentially told her she needed to stop if she wanted the marriage to survive,” Ben recalls.
The church’s General Handbook discourages members from participating in “miraculous or supernatural healings from an individual or group that claims to have special methods for accessing healing power outside of prayer and properly performed priesthood blessings. These practices are often referred to as ‘energy healing.’”
Spring started to say that she was having prophetic dreams. Around two and a half years ago, “she brought my daughter (Abi) into it,” Ben says. Abi also claimed she was having dreams and she and her mom felt an urgency to stock up on emergency supplies, he said.
Brook, Spring’s brother who lived in Provo, Utah, was also fascinated with doomsday teachings. He, Spring and Abi spent hours on the phone every day.
“She started spending a significant amount of money on food prep. She was buying a lot of winter gear, even though we live in Arizona. She was buying tents. She was convinced that the saints would have to gather in the last days up in the mountains, and she was preparing for that,” Ben says.
Although Abi was interested in the Second Coming, Ben says none of his and Spring’s other four kids were – especially Blaze.
“He is in no way a supporter of anything she’s ever believed. He is your typical teenager, and all he wants to do is hang out with friends and be on his phone,” Ben says. “He’s on the football team and has worked so hard to be on that football team. They still have games left this season. There’s no way that he would have gone along with it.
Ben and Spring decided to separate in April 2023. Ben moved out but said their relationship was cordial. He said he moved back into the family home in October 2023.
I have read that despite him moving back into the home, Ben filed for a marriage dissolution on October 17.
Abi married a man named Braydon Snarr in 2021. Braydon spoke to the media about Abi’s behavior.
He said that Abi watched videos of pastors prophesying the last days, and she was always speaking with her mom and uncle about the Second Coming. Earlier this year, she asked her husband if he would be willing to leave their home if necessary.
“My response to her was yes, if we were to be invaded by another country or our lives were in jeopardy, I would obviously not be in Phoenix in my apartment. I would leave — thinking that’s what she meant by that,” Braydon says. “But her beliefs continued to spiral down and down to the point where on Monday morning she said, ‘It’s time to go.’”
By Monday morning, he means October 23, 2023. Abi called him at work to say that Braydon needed to take her to the hospital. He rushed back to their apartment, expecting a medical emergency. There wasn’t one. “The apartment was a mess. She had gone and purchased a bunch of hunting and utility camping gear from Sportsman’s Warehouse. And in utter shock, she told me that it’s time for us to leave and that I needed to go with her,” Braydon recalls. “I was just baffled.”
Abi told Braydon they had to get to the airport as they had flights booked for Boise.
Braydon asked where they would go after that and she said she couldn’t tell him until they got to Idaho.
“I love her. She’s the love of my life. And she comes in and says, ‘It’s time to go, and I’m not coming back.’ It’s one of those experiences where part of you is like, ‘I can’t let you go. I have to go with you even if it makes no logical sense’ because that’s the one you love. She’s everything that I have,” Braydon says. “But deep down inside of me, I knew that this couldn’t be. The world is going to continue to keep spinning. I told her I just can’t do it. I can’t do it.”
Abi called her uncle Brook, and he read scriptures to Braydon trying to convince him to catch the flight.
“He was basically telling me that I will receive a witness after the trial of my faith and to trust God — that I’m a part of this with them, and it’s supposed to be the five of us,” Braydon says.
Braydon was emotional and went outside to his car. Spring and Blaze showed up, Abi loaded up her suitcases and they left for the airport. Braydon called his dad in Utah and asked for him to fly to Arizona so he wouldn’t have to be alone.
Braydon says he texted Abi and tried to explain that their plans didn’t make sense. She responded by saying it wasn’t too late for him to catch the flight. He responded that he loved her.
“She texted, ‘I love you. We will be back in a few years. And if you’re still around, I’ll come find you.’”
The text messages then stopped.
Braydon called Ben and informed him about the situation. The following day, a judge in Arizona issued an emergency order demanding Blaze be returned immediately to Ben, who is the temporary sole custody parent.
Before the family left, Brook wrote a two-and-a-half page “last will and testament” letter to his kids, withdrew about $50,000 in cash and divided his assets between his children, Ben says. In the letter, provided to EastIdahoNews.com, Brook wrote about his faith and beliefs in Jesus Christ.
“If you are reading this right now, it means that I am gone. I don’t know where I am going. I was not told. You will not see me for some time. How long I do not know but I WILL see you again,” he wrote.
You can read the court documents and letters here – https://www.eastidahonews.com/2023/10/read-ben-thibaudeaus-court-filing-to-gain-custody-of-his-son-blaze-thibaudeau/?fbclid=IwAR3jSbXT9oJfkF3OloTiZcUdGT5fPATvcGvNV9t2nBt3gmqTHpESjHM5TpU
Ben got information soon after they left that their passports had been used to enter Canada. Braydon thought that location made sense based on their prior preparations.
“The stuff that she purchased at the sporting goods store was all heavy gear, heavy wool socks, insulated boots, stuff of that nature,” Braydon said. “I believe their purpose is just to try to wait this out. They’re thinking events are going to be happening soon and they need to be away for safety.”
On Friday October 27, Blaze and his family were found safely at an Alaska Highway Border crossing. Brook and Spring Thibaudeau were taken into custody at the Fairbanks Correctional Center, according to an online database.
Ben actually asked for leniency on Spring’s bond. “She’s a very spiritual person; she just took it a little bit too far,” Ben said.
“She assumes the end of the world was going to happen this weekend, and obviously it’s not,” Ben said. “So they’re all realizing that they’ve got to go back and reassess things that they’ve been reading.”
The Alaskan judge held firm on a $500,000 bond for both defendants saying the circumstances of the case presented a big concern.
The judge reasoned Spring had “delusional beliefs” about the end of the world, and “whether they be spiritually based or organically based, she took extreme action to remove the child illegally from Arizona.”
The process now begins to extradite Brook and Spring to Arizona to face the criminal charges.