Patterico's Pontifications


Warren Jeffs’ Texas Compound: Children Detained Until Custody Hearing (Updated x2)

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Current Events,Law — DRJ @ 12:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Friday, Texas state Judge Barbara Walther ordered that all children will remain in San Angelo until Thursday’s custody hearing. The hearing is expected to last 14 days. Only the mothers who left with their children will be permitted to visit them. The State of Texas is currently providing for 555 people in shelters, including 139 women.

The court also released an 80-page search warrant that provides insight into their lives:

“Items removed from the ranch include boxes of photo albums, family trees, multiple laptop computers, shredder contents, cell phones and digital electronic equipment.

Many of the inventory items refer to the name of the girl who called in the original complaint, including 18 receipts from Shannon Medical Center laboratory.

However, the inventory notes that several girls with the same name lived at the compound and the receipts pertain to a number of people, not just one.

Also on the list are items indicating the children on the ranch went through some home schooling: four textbook exercises, one teacher notebook, 19 report cards with names and a mobile video of both floors at the schoolhouse.

The officials also seized an item described as a video of the birthing room.

More items included photographs, multiple journals as well as father-child identifying information and what are described in the inventory as “pedigree documents.”

Officials worry that the Texas FDLS case will be hard to prosecute because the Texas members were selected based on their obedience and are unlikely to cooperate with officials:

“Polygamist sect members who were moved to a Texas compound from their longtime homes along the Utah-Arizona line were hand-picked for their fierce loyalty to leader Warren Jeffs, and that allegiance may be a stumbling block for law enforcement, authorities say.

Jeffs, the imprisoned leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, transferred people to Eldorado, Texas, to escape growing government scrutiny on the sect’s base in Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said.

“This was Warren Jeff’s all-star cast,” said Goddard, who has been investigating the sect since 2004. “They had the strongest sense of obedience.”

As a result, their extreme devotion could make it hard on Texas authorities as they push for prosecutions, said Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.

“All these girls are taught from the cradle not to trust anybody from the outside,” Shurtleff said. “Especially the government. We’re the beast. We’re the devil.”

There are also more details about the raid led by Texas Ranger Capt. Barry Caver: “When officials asked to enter the massive temple, for example, about 57 men who live on the ranch formed a line around the huge white building to offer, for the most part, superficial resistance.”

Approximately sixty people (men and elderly women) remain at the compound and have resumed their normal lives. There was also more on the original call for help:

“Also Thursday, officials from NewBridge Family Shelter in San Angelo and the National Domestic Violence Hotline said their agencies will work with similar domestic abuse groups in Utah to get training to help victims from plural families such as those from the YFZ Ranch.

Tammy Harris, NewBridge executive director, said her agency contacted CPS once it took calls from a girl at the FLDS compound and determined she is 16. On a separate day, NewBridge contacted law enforcement.

Phone operators are not allowed to get help for a caller unless the caller asks for assistance, said Sheryl Cates, chief executive officer of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the leader of the Texas Council on Family Violence.

“When we go to the phones, we have to believe that call,” Cates said in response to a question about the authenticity of the FLDS calls. “Our job is to assess that situation.”

NewBridge does not record phone conversations, but phone operators take notes, Harris said.”

Apparently Child Protective Services were contacted after the first call, but it sounds like Texas law enforcement agencies weren’t called until after the girl’s second phone call. If so, the search warrant and investigation were mobilized in less than one day. I imagine law enforcement had plans in place to respond to this but that’s still impressive.

Related posts here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE 1 – The parents have been served notice by publication in the Eldorado Success newspaper. The children’s names are listed in the notice. Their last names (where known) are mostly Jeffs, Jessop, Steed, and Barlow.

UPDATE 2: Saturday, Texas law enforcement talked with Dale Barlow in Utah.


38 Responses to “Warren Jeffs’ Texas Compound: Children Detained Until Custody Hearing (Updated x2)”

  1. When you read this account, three things are obvious.

    1) They don’t have a hope in hell of successfully prosecuting these people.

    2) They came ONE DAY after notification with this massive effort. It was a set-up.

    3) These women and children will end up back on welfare when this is over. In even worse shape than they were in, and with lots of trauma.

    The moral of this story? Don’t break what you can’t fix.

    William Millan (fe691d)

  2. For those so fiercely loyal to Warren Jeffs, its curious that ‘about 57 men who live on the ranch formed a line around the huge white building to offer, for the most part, superficial resistance.”

    “Pedigree documents” ? These poor girls were used as breeders by disgusting misogynists (yup, there’s that word again).

    I appreciate your continued updates, DRJ.

    Dana (fd88d5)

  3. I would prefer to think that local authorities had long been aware that a potential problem existed within their jourisdictions, and that they had developed contingency plans to deal with various possible scenarios.

    Isn’t that what we pay them to do – Plan for un-expected events?

    We have become so inured to the incompetance that was displayed by officials in NOLA, that we ascribe nefarious conduct to officials who are actually competant.

    It is a credit to the LE community in TX that they were able to remove so many, possibly, at-risk children from that environement without any injuries or serious confrontation. This was in the same spirit as that famous Texas Ranger motto: One Riot, One Ranger.

    Perhaps if the ATF in Waco had just knocked on the door, they might have been able to serve their warrants in a similar, peaceful manner (but, I don’t give the ATF that much credit – they like to do things in the grand, splashy manner: Especially when budget hearings are on-going on the Hill).

    Again, for now – and with the info we currently have:
    Well Done!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  4. Thank you for the child molesters’ point of view, William Milan.

    Every child molester here can be put in prison extemely easily. We don’t need confessions from nobody. A DNA test for paternity and proof of the childrens’ ages, the mother and the child both, through public documents and scientific testimony. It’s up to Texas. How far will the State take it?

    As for They don’t have a hope in hell of successfully prosecuting these people. According to General Sheridan, Texas makes Hell look good. And in this case, I hope he was right.

    nk (6b7d4f)

  5. i had assumed in an earlier comment that the phone calls had been taped. yow! a huge mobilization all depending on the recollection of one operator. i say it was a bogus pretext.

    assistant devil's advocate (6c7758)

  6. I hope they prosecute those pedophiles to the fullest extent of the law.

    dcrane (b182ba)

  7. Good try, William Milan, but as these Eldorado Success articles make clear, Jeffs’ and his FDLS followers first moved in under false pretenses. Follow the link and then hit “Next” to see how thoroughly the newspaper covered this story since May 2004 and how state and local officials responded.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  8. The parents of the children have been given notice and sued by publication. See the update.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  9. ADA,

    Even if law enforcement didn’t have a recording of the conversation, wouldn’t law enforcement be able to trace the cell phone number the call was made from and the area from which it originated? Isn’t it likely they did that as a part of the initial investigation?

    DRJ (a431ca)

  10. “We don’t need confessions from nobody. A DNA test for paternity and proof of the childrens’ ages, the mother and the child both, through public documents and scientific testimony. It’s up to Texas.”

    nk, not being familiar with Texas law but being aware that defedants’ rights often seem to supercede victim’s right, wouldn’t the above violate the ‘fathers’ rights?

    Would not some arm of the ACLU make a fuss? I’m interested in knowing how the state might actually go about a mass prosecution?

    Dana (fd88d5)

  11. they had an informant in there for four years and only just now were informed of illegal marriages. suddenly, a girl’s voice on the phone tells an operator something, then calls back the next day to cancel it. a major deployment of cops and lawyers ensues. they come up with four girls with the same name, let’s call them “faith victim”, but none of them seem to match the phone account: one child, another on the way. the authentic faith victim is nowhere to be found, and not a single one of 139 mothers and 416 children in custody can shed light on her whereabouts. do you know how hard it is to get 139 women to hang tight with anything? just as neptune and pluto were discovered based on the gravitational influence of theretofore hidden bodies on uranus, there’s a whole ‘nother planet full of facts about this that haven’t been disclosed yet.

    assistant devil's advocate (6c7758)

  12. dana, people can be compelled to provide dna samples with probable cause, it isn’t considered a form of self-incrimination.

    assistant devil's advocate (6c7758)

  13. ADA,

    I don’t have inside knowledge about the informant and you may be right, but the authorities have been very careful in how they describe the informant in the reports I’ve read. Those reports sound like the informant may have lived in an Arizona or Utah compound and consulted regarding how polygamous compounds work. Maybe s/he visited the Texas compound but it doesn’t sounds like s/he lived there.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  14. ADA:

    do you know how hard it is to get 139 women to hang tight with anything?

    You mean like getting them to live in a religious sect, miles from anywhere in a hardscrabble desert with few amenities? I guess we’ve found 139 of them.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  15. Of course they were ready to move; they’ve had an informant in the sect for FOUR YEARS. They just needed probable cause to do anything about it.

    A court affidavit unsealed Wednesday said Doran’s informant had provided him with details about life at the ranch “on more than 20 occassions,” but did not tell him until April 5 that the males of the ranch “engage in the practice of marrying multiple wives; at the initial time of the marriage the bride is often under the age of sixteen years.”

    ADA- if they’ve been brainwashed? Beaten? If the girl was “disappeared”? Relatively easy.
    You can’t assume that these women will react like a “normal” woman in our society– they’d be closer to a Muslim woman, of any of the groups that folks are familiar with.

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  16. they aren’t in the hardscrabble desert anymore, they’re in a comfortable facility where they can be gently quizzed one at a time. you could do it. if you were in charge, you could turn one out of 139 in a day…

    “susie, we need your help here. we’re gonna take care of you and your kids and protect you from the evil criminals who were exploiting you by prosecuting and imprisoning them, just you watch, but right now, we need to find faith victim. she’s like your sister in terms of shared experience and common interest, and she’s out there somewhere needing help, and anything at all you can tell us about her will help us get her the help she needs, so, what do you know?”

    an experienced, compassionate lady lawyer bracing 139 teenage mothers in a row will turn one, you betcha, unless…

    unless none of them knew what you were talking about, because faith victim is actually a fictional composite.

    finally, i want to record my disagreement with william millan in #1. i think the raid will ultimately help the young mothers and kids, so whoever pulled this off should receive no more than a lecture from his/her boss.

    assistant devil's advocate (6c7758)

  17. ADA– would YOU believe a Nazi if he told you that kind of thing?

    I know I wouldn’t.

    They’re taught that the outside is full of evil liars.

    Also, not all of the mothers are teenage; and additionally, I KNOW the children aren’t questioned separately; willing to bet the adults aren’t, either.

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  18. For once, I think we agree totally on SOMETHING– this raid was a Good Thing.

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  19. What was the source of income for this group? That is a lot of people to house and feed. Where did they get the money to buy the property and construct the buildings?

    huey (9558ff)

  20. These kind of prosecutions are perfect for the DA and Police. Hollywood and the media have demonized Mormon polygamists, they are considered on the level of Nazis. So the public will believe anything they are told by a sob-sister media who fill the papers and the cable news shows with every salacious rumor they can find. No need to worry about anybody refuting what they say or print. It guarantees reelection and/or statewide office for the DA. And 6 to 12 months later, when nothing big goes down on the prosecution, nobody cares.

    So the “Leader” does a few years, the men involved pay fines or do a few months county time and the women and kids end up back on welfare with a load of trauma.

    Meanwhile, Muslim polygamy goes on all over the country and not a peep from the DA’s. From what I have read, it is especially common in the large Pak community in Detroit. But they keep quiet about it, and our Government is so PC they don’t want to get involved.

    Hell, you can’t even get the Texas MSM to admit that the Father there who killed his two daughters did it as an “Honor Killing.”

    William Millan (fe691d)

  21. William Millan, perhaps you should buy the book Escape written by a woman who escaped the FLDS compound (in Utah, I think) with her eight children. Married off at 18 to a 55 year old man, she had a child EVERY YEAR. Why did she do it? She was raised in the FLDS and for years never knew anything else but what she had been brainwashed to know.

    This FLDS groups need to be busted up. They are not religions, they are baby factories for men who hold all power over women and children. Sorry, life is not meant to be like that.

    You can bet your two dollars that the Tx LE agencies are doing this correctly in every possible way. Having sex with a girl under the age of 16, even with parental permission, is illegal in Texas. Now it is being reported that one girl, age 16 and pregnant, already has four kids. You do the math.

    I am sorry that you are so against these women and children having the possibility of a normal life. I fully expected to see children on that list with the last name of Millan.

    retire05 (8d7d7a)

  22. “…hardscrabble…existence…”
    Me thinks ada’s viewpoint is colored (distorted) by too long an association with a suburban/urbane milieu, and lack of familiarity with a rural/non-sophisticated, more agrarian life.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  23. Quick segue for a diversion…
    DRJ, didn’t someone just have a baby?
    How about an update on some good news?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  24. ADA,

    Foxfier’s info sounds like you were right (and my speculation was wrong) about the informant being in the compound. And Warren Jeffs’ attorney also suspects the call was hoax.

    Another Drew,

    While I’m busy correcting myself, I was the one who described this as a “hardscrabble existence,” not ADA. But I stand by that, at least for the early residents. I’ve been to Eldorado many times and hunted in the area. It is not a comfortable environment to live and work in, especially before the buildings were completed.

    About the new baby, are you talking about JD’s little girl?

    DRJ (a431ca)

  25. DRJ- I think it sounds like he *visited* the compound– or he would’ve known about the various details sooner.

    Someone asked where the money comes from– when people join, they turn over everything they have to the cult.

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  26. Foxfier,

    I think I read that parents left their 6-year-old (or younger) children at the Texas compound, but I can’t find where I read that. Have you seen that anywhere?

    DRJ (a431ca)

  27. DRJ- I don’t know about kids that young, although I did post about the girl being dropped off three years ago by her parents– she would have been 13, probably she hit puberty.

    Could you be thinking of this eight year old?

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  28. DRJ, I also read that Jeffs only took children younger than 6 to the Eldorado compound. So this subhuman took only his most devoted worshippers (all men) and six year old girls. What do you want to bet that those poor girls never reached the age of 10 without being forced to have sex?

    retire05 (8d7d7a)

  29. Dana #10 & ada #12,

    I defended a case where the 15-year old mother initially blurted out to her aunt but in court was reticent about accusing her uncle. The judge ordered a paternity test on his own motion in the middle of the trial. (It was HLA back then, BTW, DNA was not known yet.)

    I understand that Huntsville is not what it used to be but I think that Texas can make Hell look good for these monsters if it wants to.

    nk (6b7d4f)

  30. Another Drew,

    Here’s some good news — Texas and Arizona lawyers respond, Utah sends care packages, and children of polygamists send words of encouragement:

    The Texas legal community is responding to the challenge of recruiting as many as 350 court-appointed lawyers for the children in advance of Thursday’s hearing. Texas State Bar President Gib Walton said the group has already conducted free legal training for volunteer lawyers so that each child can have representation.

    “This type of mobilization is unprecedented, there’s no doubt about it,” Walton said. “We’re very proud of the way that Texas lawyers have rallied to the situation,” he added.

    In addition to lawyers for the children, some of the women staying at the makeshift shelters are also getting free legal help from Legal Services attorneys, he said.

    Logistics are another problem. Walton said the group may charter buses for lawyers who cannot get flights or hotels in the San Angelo area.

    Meanwhile, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard sent an attorney and an investigator experienced in FLDS prosecutions to assist Texas officials in the YFZ ranch probe, Goddard spokeswoman Andrea Esquer said.

    Also Saturday, Utah polygamy advocates in the Salt Lake City area were working on care packages for those held at Fort Concho. About 500 stuffed animals, toiletries, diapers and other personal items had been collected, said Mary Batchelor, a co-founder of Principle Voices. The items will be shipped to Texas next week, she said.

    Some 500 children from Utah polygamous families had also written letters to the FLDS children.

    “The children wanted to express their feelings and let these kids know that they are not alone,” she said.”

    As many as 700 Child Protective Service personnel have come from all over Texas to assist the children. At this point, the cost to San Angelo alone is $60,000 a day and while state resources have been mobilized to assist, Texas Governor Perry has no plans to request federal assistance.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  31. As thoroughly disgusting as this all is, can not a good case be made as to the “marriage” of the girls under the 1st amendment?

    Since the entire sane universe agrees that this was a disgusting community, I am interested in what happens to the victims. I will inject politics here. The liberals all insist that big brother intrude at the faintest hint of “abuse.” Now that there is a clear case, just what exactly will the all-compassionate big brother do with the victims?

    They’ll argue there isn’t any perfect solution but that at least this stuff won’t happen under Jeffs anymore. That’s all well and good. How about they then accept the right’s argument that Iraq is at least not going to have to suffer under Saddam anymore and that democratic progress is, at least, discernible?

    Ed (f28e9a)

  32. one commenter wanted to know where the money came from.

    here you go. the source from which all blessings flow.

    the highlight may be the usdoj official’s unusually frank comment, first sentence, paragraph 20.

    assistant devil's advocate (e8d86d)

  33. Isnt poligmy illegal in the USA and why did it take them so long to catch this wacko anyway?

    krazy kagu (d982eb)

  34. DRJ…
    Madeline Grace is neat. Thanks for the link.

    I hope JD realizes that when he walks MG down the aisle some years hence, he will think back that it seems like only yesterday that she was this small baby in his arms. Enjoy, and memorialize these years, as they will be fleeting and all-to-brief, when reflected upon.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  35. Here’s a source for the claim that children under six were taken to YFZ:

    In 2003 and 2004, Jeffs, the spiritual leader of an estimated 6,000 followers in two adjoining towns along the Utah-Arizona line, plucked children under the age of 6 to bring to Texas, some without their parents, former sect member Isaac Wyler said. “Over age 6 they were too contaminated for the world to be of use to God,” said Wyler, who still lives in Colorado City, Ariz., and has 38 siblings. “He picked the ones that would be the most obedient, the ones that would be qualified to go to Zion.”

    Mina (8f5dee)

  36. That’s the AP article I was looking for. Thanks very much, Mina.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  37. An interesting paradox between black and white abuse of the child welfare program.

    C. Norris (809971)

  38. Ther are laws about education who teaches these children there is testing when your home schooled they are being deprived of education. It’s been mentioned that some children are not even being raised by their natural parents if so Is to stop inter breeding like you would raising animals and would the natural parents come from other compounds to get DNA testing? These people are smarter than we know. Who lives where and what are their real names.

    Maggie (3d9b08)

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