|“||As many of you know, the Elite have been in consultation, and we are pleased to announce we have made our decision. Some of you will advance to Level Three, and some of you won't. Keep in mind, this does not mean the door to rebirth and renewal is closed to you.||”|
— Grant to his followers
Absolutely nothing is known of Colton's life, other than he founded an underground doomsday cult called The Forever People in Boulder City, Nevada, at some point. Three years prior to the events of The Forever People, roughly around the same time as Sarah Rhoades and her son Bobby joined and cut all contact with their relations, another follower named Tom Fallon was hospitalized for severe frostbite and lost all of his fingers. Upon his release, the cult cut all contact with him. The law firm representing Colton, Kane, and Associates, claimed that Fallon knew he was engaging in risky behavior and threatened his mother with a lawsuit for defamation if she ever raised charges against them or simply talked to law enforcement. Fallon himself, however, remained a believer and refused to give any information about the cult, as he was convinced that it would eventually come for him. One month prior, another man named Adam Lewis joined, and Rhoades phoned her former boyfriend and Bobby's father, Carl Mason, to help her and Bobby get out of the cult. They hatched a plan involving Carl joining the cult, but Rhoades was killed by fellow member Jon Kanak before Carl could see her or Bobby.
The Forever People
Colton drives to a bus stop at night to pick up Carl. He makes him cover his head and put on plastic handcuffs before boarding his van. Once in Colton's ranch, he asks Carl if he is aware of what he is signing for and if he is ready to enter Level Two. When Carl says yes, Colton opens the door of a walk-in freezer and makes him step inside. He tells him that this is his "baptism" and that there is no way back. After wishing Carl luck, Colton closes the door, leaving Mason to freeze until he becomes unconscious. Colton later revives Carl using warm water bags and a defibrillator. When Carl asks if he made it, Colton confirms that he did. He says that he is now "one of us" and tells the other members of the Forever People to come closer and meet him. The cultists watch as Carl kneels before Colton and Colton kisses him on the head. Carl later helps Kanak pull out Lewis out of the freezer, and Colton revives him. However, Lewis is visibly nervous and breaks down while Colton is giving a sermon about fear being what truly consumes people. Colton tells Lewis that he is not ready to enter Level Three and watches as two other cultists take him out while Lewis says that he just wants to go home. Later, Lewis is tortured and frozen to death by Kanak, unbeknownst to Colton or the other followers.
The BAU find that both Rhoades and Lewis withdrew the same exact amount of money every month and that Lewis wrote checks for a non-profit organization called the Global Warming Awareness Fund, a front also headed by Colton. They go to Colton's home, which is both the fund and the cult's headquarters, and interrupt another sermon in which Colton is saying that he has been discussing with "the Elite" about some of the followers advancing to Level Three. Colton tells his followers to implement "Protocol Number Seven" and not make eye-contact with the authorities. When requested for interrogation, he goes willingly. Back at the police headquarters, Colton is joined by his lawyer, who tells Hotch and Rossi that they will leave if they denigrate Colton's religious beliefs in any way. Rossi asks Colton if he owns a boat like that used to dispose of the bodies and the lawyer confirms that "the Fund" does, in order to conduct water tests.
Colton asks for the real reason of the interrogation and the agents say that it is Rhoades and Lewis, who Colton says were let go when they requested to leave the Forever People. The agents show him pictures of their bodies and ask for Bobby's whereabouts, but Colton and his lawyer cite his right to remain silent. When Rossi arrests Colton for the murders, Colton rises from his seat and helps Rossi handcuff him, all while telling his lawyer to address his "flock" and tell them that his arrest is a test and they should not lose faith. However, both agents know that Colton didn't actually perform nor sanction the murders because he was genuinely surprised when he saw the bodies, and guess that the actual unsub must be another member, someone they have not talked to yet. They realize it must be the person watching over the cultists' children because they are only intermittently brought to the house and they weren't there when they visited it. They return when the children come for Colton's lawyer's address and rescue Bobby. Colton was most likely arrested and prosecuted for Bobby's abduction.
Colton targeted disenfranchised men and women who needed help in their daily lives. He would feed them a diet high on sugar and electrolytes but starve them from proteins in order to affect their reasoning process and brainwash them; tell them to cut contact with people outside the cult and to not tell anyone about its members and activities, claiming that they weren't worthy to know about them; and also to give monthly payments to the cult's front, a shell non-profit organization named the Global Warming Awareness Fund, also headed by Colton. The members' children were separated from their parents and raised by Kanak, who would bring them to Colton's ranch intermittently, but never allow them to interact with the other adult members.
The unsub is a charismatic psychopath who is superficially intelligent and charming and has organized a cult around himself. Like most cults in the U.S., his cult is underground to avoid scrutiny. The unsub has convinced his followers to sublimate their needs for his own, to the point of self-harm or even suicide. He preys upon disenfranchised men and women who need help in their daily lives. Since Sarah Rhoades needed help being a single mother, her son Bobby is probably still inside the group. The unsub breaks his followers physically and mentally, usually through isolation and deprivation. He has found a way to speed the process through a near-death experience. He locks the followers in a giant freezer to induce hypothermia and then resuscitates them. He takes advantage of the euphoria caused by the cold-induced shock; when members regain consciousness, they feel like they have been born again, but in reality, they almost died. Sarah Rhoades isn't the first victim that he has harmed.
He could have been based on Jim Jones. Like Jones, Grant had a tendency to wear sunglasses. Also, Carl Mason's attempts at reuniting with his son, who is being kept by the cult, may have been based on Timothy Stoen' own crusade in order to obtain his son's custody.
- Unspecified dates:
- Numerous unnamed victims (assaulted; all brainwashed and ritualistically frozen)
- Jon Kanak (assaulted; brainwashed and ritualistically frozen)
- Unspecified dates in 2012:
- Tom Fallon (attempted, but survived; was brainwashed and non-fatally frozen; survived, but lost all fingers to frostbite)
- Sarah Rhoades and her son Bobby:
- Sarah Rhoades (assaulted; brainwashed and ritualistically frozen)
- Bobby Rhoades (abducted; was rescued on January 15, 2015)
- January 2015:
- Carl Mason (Sarah Rhoades's romantic partner and Bobby's father; assaulted; ritualistically frozen)
- Adam Lewis (assaulted; brainwashed and ritualistically frozen)