ABILENE, Texas — Yisrayl Hawkins, 87, died at his home Friday in Clyde, a community near Abilene, according to three different sources close to the family.
Hawkins was the leader of a group called The House of Yahweh. He drew national attention after the Branch Davidians standoff in Waco.
Also known as "Buffalo Bill" Hawkins, he started the group — referred to as a cult — in 1974 after serving as an Abilene police officer.
The leader predicted the end times on several occasions. The latest was in 2020. He also said he would never die and that he was the "second coming."
“My job is to preach the Message of the Kingdom to the world, whether you will listen or not is up to you," he warned. "Look at how many people listened to Noah; don’t let that be you. Read this letter and get on our mailing list, so you don’t get caught in the flood."
In the early 2000s, there were allegations that Hawkins had up to 30 wives at one point.
"I've got a wife, one wife," Hawkins said in an interview broadcast on 20/20.
Hawkins was arrested on four counts of bigamy in February 2008. The charges were later dropped. Hawkins did agree to pay a $2,000 fine and serve 15 months probation for child labor violations.
Many members live in run down trailer homes. The leader had a well-guarded, two-story home.
Many members have fled the group. Hawkins ex-wife Kay Hawkins wrote a book about her experience and appeared on Dr. Phil.
We reached out to House of Yahweh. They have not released a statement.