May 16,2008 00:00
PENZA, Russia -- Authorities were conducting forensic tests Friday on the bodies of two women who died during a seven-month stay in a cave with Russian doomsday cult members.
The bodies were exhumed shortly after the last nine members of the cult were persuaded by police to come out of the cave in the Penza region southeast of Moscow, the Interfax news agency said.
"The exhumation of the second body that laid in the immediate vicinity of the survivors in the cave posed a real threat of poisoning by the smell of decaying bodies," Vladimir Provotorov, head of the Bekovsky region, told Interfax. "The surviving cult members were therefore offered to leave the cave voluntarily. The people agreed and came out to the surface early in the morning on Friday."
The nine people who left the cave were in "normal, satisfactory condition," Provotorov said, but didn't reveal where the surviving cult members were taken.
Thirty-five people descended into the cave in November, fearing the end of world was at hand. Seven women came out of cave in March and 17 more came out in April.
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