One of the many things about Carole's story that's implausible to me is that she claims that she'd never even heard of Alzheimer's until her husband allegedly went downhill. She says Alzheimer's "wasn't a commonly used word."
In the mid-to-late nineties? Are you freaking kidding me? I was a kid then, and I'd known what Alzheimer's was for many years. It was an extremely well-known disease.
Even if we accept what she says as true, that means she knew her husband was severely mentally incompetent, and she knew that he was illegally flying planes, and she never did jack shit to stop him beyond supposedly scheduling a doctor's appointment. There is no way she wanted that man alive.
I'd bet that their attraction to women made them even more appealing to someone like Joe.
With Travis, it sounds like the drugs were the main reason he stayed. And considering how much meth John must have used to have such busted teeth, I'd bet it was a big part of him staying, too.
It wouldn't surprise me if both John and Travis are/were at least somewhat attracted to men. But hell, there's no shortage of women who shack up with men out of desperation, despite having no real physical interest in them. They may have been their situation, too.
And as gross as most of us find Joe, he had access to large sums of money, drugs, motor vehicles and firearms (which John and Travis seemed to really enjoy). And he had a cult of personality surrounding him. And he gave them access to exotic animals. And he probably convinced them that they would be trophy husbands, rather than having to work.
All of those things are huge elements in attracting young, impressionable people. Especially when they live in an area with very little to do, and very little economic opportunity.
Anyway...what happened to the 12 or so large cats that Joe brought with him when he fled his compound? Does anyone know?