On November 18, 1978, 909 Americans were led to their death by the Rev. Jim Jones in a mass murder-suicide pact in a South American jungle. Only 33 people survived. CNN special correspondent Soledad O'Brien reported on their untold stories in "CNN Presents: Escape from Jonestown." Correspondent Soledad O'Brien Sr. Executive Producer/VP Mark Nelson Executive Producer James Polk Executive Director Jody Gottlieb Producer David Matthews Senior Editor and Producer/Lead Editor April Hock Senior Editors/Producers Jack Austin Lee Hughey Blake Luce Karen Nolan Wendy Tennery Production Assistant Jack Lyons Photojournalists Jonathan Schaer Greg Kilday David Jenkins Henry Young Mike Calloway David Rust Ken Day Mark Biello Sound Technicians Kevin Kvicala Doug Thomas Jerry Appleman David Ruff Post Production Producers John Cooke Matt Scheibner Audio Mixer Rick Sierra On Line Editor Gary
As we began our journey, I was so nervous I could barely keep my footing. One of the women had made Kool-Aid and measured out enough Valium in it to keep the children calm. As we trekked up the side of the banana field, my heart was beating wildly. Someone is going to see us, I kept thinking. I prayed to God to please get me to the top of the hill, and when I put the other foot down on top, sudden warmth engulfed my body from head to toe.
Thirty years ago, 909 Americans were led to their death by the Rev. Jim Jones in a mass murder-suicide pact in a South American jungle, shortly after Jones' gunmen killed a visiting U.S. congressman and four others at a nearby airstrip.
On November 18, 1978, more than 900 people died in a mass murder-suicide at Jonestown, a cult commune in Guyana. Its leader, the Rev. Jim Jones, called himself God. He persuaded followers to kill their children first and then drink fruit punch laced with cyanide. Of the nearly 1,000 church members who were present at the start of that day, only 33 survived. Eleven people fled through the jungle: Richard Clark, age 42 Julius Evans, 30 Sandra Evans, 30 Sonya Evans, 11 Sharla Evans, 7 Shirelle Evans, 5 Johnny Franklin, 33 Diane Louie, 26 Robert Paul, 33 Leslie Wilson, 21 Jakari Wilson, 3 Fourteen people lived through airport ambush: Monica Bagby, 18 Jim Bogue, 36 Edith Bogue, 39 Teena Bogue, 22 Juanita Bogue, 21 Tommy Bogue, 17 Harold Cordell, 42 Vernon Gosney, 25 Chris O'Neal, 20 Edith Parks, 64 Gerald Parks, 45 Dale Parks, 27 Brenda Parks, 18 Tracy Parks, 12 Four people were sent away by Jones or his mistress: Mike Carter, 20 Tim Carter, 30
Cyanide was being bought and shipped to the Rev. Jim Jones' jungle compound in South America for at least two years before 909 Americans died there at the command of their cult leader, CNN has learned.
Tell me, does it get sweeter than this? The big handsome kid gliding to the glass in warmup drills, that's your son. He's the best high school player in the city. One look at the visitors, who've come from 40 miles away, tells you all you need to know: He's the best player in the house tonight.