Third Lev Tahor child hospitalized

Lev Tahor children are walked home during the lunch hour from the makeshift school they attend in...

Lev Tahor children are walked home during the lunch hour from the makeshift school they attend in Chatham, Ont., Friday, November 29, 2013. (Diana Martin/QMI Agency)

Jennifer O’Brien and Vicki Gough, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:38 PM ET

CHATHAM, Ont. ─ Three kids are in hospital on hunger strikes, others held with Toronto foster families, one young mother unable to breast feed her infant being held in a separate home ─ life has unravelled for a Jewish sect now based in southern Ontario.

"People are really in a panic," Lev Tahor representative Uriel Goldman said, listing off updates on child and adult members rounded up by authorities in Trinidad and Tobago and Calgary after fleeing Chatham, Ont., last week.

"We are very concerned about the kids," said Goldman, one of more than 200 Lev Tahor members living in Chatham, where they moved last fall while being investigated by child welfare officials in Quebec.

"We know the kids are in Toronto, that's all we know," he said.

Also known is that members of three families defied court orders to stay put and took off from Ontario last week. At the centre of a high-profile child welfare case, they're trying to appeal court orders to have their children placed in temporary foster care over unproven allegations of abuse.

Six children were intercepted in Trinidad and Tabago and two were found in Calgary, while another six are believed to be in Guatemala.

The sudden getaway was a "vacation," said Pamela Palmer, a group sympathizer.

Earlier Tuesday Palmer issued statements to the media saying three children suffering from food deprivation were at Sick Kids' hospital.

A hospital spokesperson wouldn't confirm the kids had been admitted, saying Sick Kids wasn't authorized to provide any information on the case.

A judge said Tuesday she'd decide Friday whether to release details of a decision she made last week to order officials to immediately seize the 14 children.


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