Roch Thériault was born in Saguenay, Quebec, Canada on May 16th 1947. His family was a blend of French-Canadian. He was raised in a city called Thetford Mines which is located in south-central Quebec, this city is located in the Appalachian Mountains. Roch was an intelligent child but only attended school til the seventh grade. At this point he dropped out and would begin to teach himself from the Old Testament bible.
As he grew into young adulthood, Roch believed the world would be coming to an end soon pending a war between good and evil. At one point he converted his Catholic belief system to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he followed the church’s belief system which is a holistic belief. They steer away from unhealthy foods and tobacco as well as other substances.
In the mid-1970s Roch convinced several people to quit their jobs and leave their homes to join his religious movement. By 1977 Roch had formed a full cult and had a goal of creating a commune. In his commune people would be able to freely listen to his motivational speeches and he believed they would live in unity with equality and completely be free of any and all sin.
During this time, he would prohibit the members of the group to have any contact with their families on the outside, leaving the group completely under his control. Over time Roch’s fear of the end of the world grew and he began telling his members that God himself had come to him and warned him that the end of the world would occur in February 1979.
In preparation for the end, Roch moved the group to a mountainside in 1978. He called the mountainside, The Eternal Mountain. He told his group they would all be saved here on this mountainside. While on the mountainside, he instructed his group to build a town while he watched. He often compared them to ants as they were hard workers. This led to him naming the group, The Ant Hill Kids.
February of 1979 arrived and the apocalypse did not happen, which led his people to start questioning if Roch’s wisdom was real. Though he explained to the commune that Earth and God’s world were not parallel and it could have been a miscalculation on his part. At this point, Roch began to expand the cult. He married all nine of the women in the commune and impregnated them.
Roch fathered over 20 children.
By the 1980s the group had grown to nearly 40 members and a dress code was enforced. All group members were to wear identical tunics. This represented equality and devotion.
In 1984, Roch relocated the group once again, this time from Quebec to Burnt River in Central Ontario.
But these days, Roch was doing less motivational speaking and more drinking. He now became a totalitarian and members were not allowed to even speak to each other, have sex with each other, or any other engagement unless he was present.
Roch became more and more erratic and abusive to his followers. He began to physically punish followers who attempted to leave the group, hitting them with a belt or a hammer and then would go on to suspend them from a ceiling and at times pluck body hairs from them one by one. He even went as far as defecating on them. The group often sold baked goods to make money and if a member did not sell enough, they would be subjected to extreme punishment.
Often he would force his followers to prove their loyalty to him by sitting on lit stoves, smear feces on each other, cut toes off of each other as well as shoot each other in the shoulders. All in the name of loyalty. At times Roch also sexually abused members of the cult and would force them to eat their own feces.
The abuse wasn’t limited to the adults of the group, the children were abused physically and sexually. They would be forced to be naked and whipped if they misbehaved. In other forms of punishment he would nail children to trees and allow other children to throw rocks at them. It was said he castrated a child at one time.
The mother of a newborn was so afraid her crying newborn would be harmed, she left the baby outside in a blizzard to die simply to escape the abuse.
The death of the infant led to a Child protective agency investigation in 1987. 14 children were then removed from the commune and placed into various foster homes. This left two men and eight women in the commune.
With the children gone, Roch became even more violent and drunk. While drunk, he often believed he was a doctor who had powers and would perform medical acts on the remaining followers.
On one of the male followers he placed a rubber band around his testicles. After about 8 hours, the scrotum became swollen and infected, so Roch removed the testicle and cauterized it with a hot iron.
In September of 1988, his actual legal wife, Solange Boilard, had told him earlier in the day that she had a sore stomach so told her to strip naked and get on a kitchen table, he then punched her in the stomach after she was on the table and shoved a placed tube inside her rectum. He then performed and enema with molasses and olive oil.
After he made an incision in the side of her abdomen and then began pulling out her intestines with his bare hands. He ripped a section of intestine out then shoved the rest back inside of her body. She was then stitched back together and was left in pain until she died.
After Solange’s death, Roch claimed he had the ability to resurrect the dead. He ordered the remaining followers to remove her uterus from her body and take the top portion of her skull off.
He would then ejaculate into her brain in the belief this would bring her back to life.
Obviously, she did not come back to life. He removed one of her ribs and kept in a leather pouch that he wore around his neck. Then he instructed the group to bury her.
In November of 1988 he used a meat cleaver on Gabrielle Lavallee, one of the women of the group that he had impregnated. He used the cleaver to cut a tendon in one of her hands. He went on to remove 8 of her teeth.
What led to this?
Gabrielle had complained of a toothache in November of 1988 and his response was to remove her teeth with pliers and later chase her with the cleaver that cut the tendon in her hand. Later in July of 1989 Roch impaled Gabrielle’s hand on a kitchen table as she had complained her hand felt stiff.
It didn’t stop there, he went on to amputate Gabrielle’s arm, by just cutting it off with a cleaver. He left her to lay on the kitchen floor in pain till the morning when it was stitched up.
Throughout her time in the commune, she suffered from welding burns, burns to her genitals, a hypodermic needle broken off in her back. Once she tried to escape, but was caught and Roch cut off parts of her breast and smashed her head in with the blunt side of an exe.
August 16th of 1989, Gabrielle was able to finally escape the commune and hitchhike to a hospital which was located north of Toronto. She was able to finally expose the horrors of the commune.
Roch Theriault was arrested for assault and this dissolved the Ant Hill Kids. Authorities had many suspicions about this group, but it was registered as a church and this prevented any investigations.
Roch was arrested and found guilty of the assault of Gabrielle for the amputation of her arm. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Most members abandoned the cult and moved on, though a few female followers would visit him during conjugal visits and he fathered another four children.
Gabrielle’s statements led authorities to research Solange’s death, which resulted in Roch pleading guilty to second degree murder which he received a life sentence in 1993.
In 2000 he was transferred to Dorchester Penitentiary, which is a medium security prison and in 2002 he applied for parole and was rejected as he was considered too high of a risk to reoffend.
In 2009, he began trying to sell his artwork on a U.S. based website MurderAuction.com which called itself a true crime auction house. They were willing to allow him to sell artwork and poetry.
But the correctional service of Canada refused to allow his work to leave the penitentiary. They didn’t want him to benefit from his work while in prison. And rightly so.
In February of 2011, he was stabbed to death by his cellmate.