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Texas church: Woman free to talk with parents

  • Church in Wells, Texas, says Catherine Grove is there on her own accord
  • Grove's parents say they last spoke to daughter on August 26

A church in Texas responded Thursday to HLN about allegations that it is holding one of its members against their will.  

Andy and Patty Grove say their daughter, Catherine, left her home in July to join the Church of Wells, located about 150 miles southeast of Dallas. They said they last spoke to Catherine on the phone on August 26. Grove's parents said they want to see her, but the church will not allow it. They claim Catherine is being "controlled" by the church.

Jacob Gardner, one of the church's leaders, told Evening Express that the Groves' allegations are false. He said the church is not holding Catherine or others against their will. 

"No, of course not, actually over these last months now, we’ve sought to only uphold and defend her civil rights as an American citizen," Gardner said.

Church elders say Catherine is freely following her spiritual path. The Groves went to the authorities for help, but they said police told them there is nothing that they can do because Catherine, 26, is an adult.

WATCH: Reporter describes church activities in Texas town

On Friday, HLN's Evening Express takes a look at the church's connection to serial killer Israel Keyes.  Watch at 5 p.m. ET on HLN.

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