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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Standoff at Polygamist Compound-Updated


Updates below

Developing from Eldorado, Texas:

Police and child welfare authorities have removed nearly 200 children from a religious compound in Eldorado as of today, first told in an article written yesterday at WUA found here.

The incident began in response to a complaint by a 16 year old girl that she was being physically abused, prompting officials to begin searching the compound and removing the children while searching for the complainant and her baby. Neither have been found as of yet and the members of the compound, which is owned by the
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has now barred officials from further search in a move that has prompted a standoff between police and those in the compound.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was headed by Warren Jeffs, who was recently convicted for polygamy and arranging polygamous marriages for his male followers, as well as other sex and incest crimes. Now, the followers of his church have created a situation that conjures forth the memories of Waco, Texas, with the Branch Davidian Church, and Ruby Ridge, Idaho, cases in which religious sect members lost their lives during stand-offs with law enforcement.

If no agreement is reached with sect leaders, authorities will forcibly remove the sect's followers "as peaceably as possible," Allison Palmer, a prosecutor in Tom Green County, told the San Angelo Standard-Times.

Medical workers are being sent "in case this were to a go in a way that no one wants," Palmer said. Law enforcers are "preparing for the worst," she said.

"Within the religion that we have encountered, their place of worship is very special to them," Palmer said. "It appears to be of great concern to them if a person from outside their congregation even attempts to step inside their place of worship."

The search is centered around the 16 year old girl who lodged the abuse complaint and a 50 year old man who is a member of the sect. Officials are under a gag order issued by a state judge regarding the situation, limiting how much information they are coming forth with at this time.

More as it develops.

Hat tip to Miss Beth

[Update-] From "Cops peacefully enter polygamist temple"

Prosecutor Allison Palmer says there were tense moments Saturday night, but the situation remained calm.

The search is continuing Sunday at the ranch in Eldorado (pronounced el-dor-AY'-do). Followers of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs built a compound there on a former exotic game ranch.
[Update #2-]- The girl who made the original complaint is still unaccounted for. Despite the fact that nearly 200 women and children were taken by bus from the compound this weekend, the girl has still not been found.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man