SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A juvenile court judge has suspended supervised child visitation for Heidi Mattingly — one of the wives of polygamist John Daniel Kingston — after one of their daughters testified plots were discussed to abduct the children from foster care.
The 17-year-old girl told an emergency hearing Tuesday that the plans had never been finalized, but there had been discussion of various ways to kidnap the children and take them to a ranch in Idaho.
She said there was talk of blowing up the Matheson Courthouse and killings the judge and various officials.
KSL Newsradio said the girl indicated it was something talked about by “everyone” in the Kingston group.
She said her father was never present when the planning was discussed.
She said one scenario called for the children to be taken at gunpoint from their foster parents’ homes. Another idea was to have the kids picked up at their schools.
The girl said another idea kicked around was that the parents might more readily regain custody if she were to commit suicide.
The judge said the foster parents have been followed by relatives of the Kingstons. The judge had previously revealed he’d been under surveillance and suspected the Kingstons. He asked Kingston and his lawyers to intervene with their family, saying they were not helping reunite the children with their mother.
Kingston was escorted from the building by Salt Lake County sheriff’s deputies. He denied to reporters that there had been any kind of plot and complained that he didn’t have his attorney with him.
Mattingly told reporters, “My plan has always been to get my children home where they belong. The state has falsely insinuated that I intend to enforce that plan with force if necessary. The facts show that I have complied with the court orders, gone above and beyond the call of duty to show my fitness and my ability as a mother. I look forward to being vindicated.”
The state took 10 of the couple’s 11 children into protective custody following charges of child abuse and neglect. Kingston lost his visitation rights last fall.