Warren Jeffs FLDS compound in Texas surrounded by police #5

Another Colorado colony of the polygamy-practicing Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has taken root, this one at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, 50 miles west of Pueblo.
Custer County Assessor J.D. Henrich confirmed that a senior member of the sect, Lee Steed, bought a $350,000 house there in November 2006 and two more parcels in rural, largely vacant subdivisions last December.
Although the building codes there aren't stringent, the county's residents and the officials are very much into conservation of local resources. If the flds start bringing in hundreds of people onto a property that's going to put them into direct confrontation with the authorities and residents over local water, waste disposal and other resources.
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Donia Jessop swore she would never go back.

It was the place that threatened to tear her family apart.

The place where evil cult leader Warren Jeffs committed horrific sex crimes against children and banished anyone who spoke against him.

Yet not only did Donia return to the town she fled in 2013, she now runs it.

Today, she sits in the mayor's office in Hildale, Utah, once the headquarters of one of America's most extreme religious sects - the Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints (FLDS).

Mothers of children missing inside the FLDS Church beg for help to find them​

DRAPER, Utah — Mothers sobbed as they pleaded for help to find their children, whom they say are missing inside the Fundamentalist LDS Church.

At a news conference on Friday, they held up photographs of the children they said they have primary custody of but they cannot find. Elizabeth Roundy said she hasn't seen her daughter in 16 months.

"I just don’t want her to get married young or to get in a bad situation where she’s not treated right or with respect or something terrible happens to her like some of those creepy revelations Warren talks about," she said.

Roundy and the other mothers are referring to a revelation issued by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs in 2022, obtained and first reported on by FOX 13 News. In it, he calls for some ex-members of the FLDS Church to return to the fold and to bring their children with them.

In years past, Jeffs has excommunicated some followers and told others to "repent from afar," reassigning wives and children to other men. Others have become fed up with edicts and left on their own. Jeffs is serving a life sentenced in a Texas prison for child sexual assault related to underage "marriages" within his polygamous church. He still runs the FLDS Church from prison.

Jeffs' revelation also makes references to translation, death and resurrection as celestial beings which has alarmed some who work with people who choose to leave the Utah-based faith.

"Make no mistake, we are going to have a mass suicide if we do not do anything about it," warned Tonia Tewell, the executive director of Holding Out Help, referencing the Jonestown massacre, a mass murder-suicide of members of a group under the edict of their leader back in 1978.

Since Jeffs' edict in 2022, ex-members believe some have returned and it may be why they cannot locate their children. Lorraine Jessop, who has not seen her three children in more than 14 months, said she was afraid for their safety in the FLDS Church.

"I don’t think people see the seriousness and the reality of what these people are willing to do," she said.

The parents have asserted their rights and have court orders for child custody, but the children have simply disappeared with people still inside the church, Tewell said.

"I get from law enforcement that if we bring them the intel of where the kids are, they will absolutely do what they need to do," she told FOX 13 News. "But nobody has any idea of where they’re at. So we essentially started leaning on missing person agencies to help find the kids because no one else is going to do it."

That includes groups like Road Warriors for the Missing, a group of motorcyclists who travel around and try to locate missing children. Sam Brower, a private investigator who has spent years pursuing FLDS leaders for lawyers suing the church, said he has also been called on to help.

He urged the state of Utah to do more to address the problem.

"It can’t just be swept under the rug like it has in the past. It’s real and it’s happening," Brower said. "Do what other states are doing — task forces and special prosecutors. Do what needs to be done. Kids are missing, little kids are missing."

In a statement to FOX 13 News, the Utah Attorney General's Office said it "takes threats against anyone in Utah very seriously. Moreover, the safety of children is a top priority. Complaints and evidence brought to our office are carefully reviewed."

Watching Friday's news conference was Rep. Melissa Garff Ballard, R-North Salt Lake, who serves in the Utah State Legislature. She said her colleagues should consider what more they can do to help the situation, including providing more resources for the mothers and enforcement of child trafficking laws.

"The legislature needs to continue the work," Rep. Ballard told FOX 13 News. "There’s plenty to do because it’s still a huge problem."

This year, the Utah State Legislature did pass a bill related to the FLDS custody cases. It allows a parent who has been "sent away" to return and reassert their parental rights in court without fear of being branded an absentee parent given the unique circumstances with the FLDS Church.

Governor Spencer Cox signed the bill into law last month. It will go into effect in May.

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