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FBI arrests fugitive daughter of polygamist Ervil LeBaron

SALT LAKE CITY – The FBI has arrested the fugitive daughter of polygamist Ervil LeBaron, bringing what ex-members of the fundamentalist church hope is an end to several decades of bloodshed.

Jacqueline LeBaron was arrested in Honduras and flown to Houston on Thursday, FBI Special Agent Shauna Dunlap told Fox 13. LeBaron is believed to have been hiding in Latin America for years.

The arrest was made by Interpol, with the help of the consulate in Honduras, Dunlap said. She will make her initial appearance before a federal judge in Houston on Friday.

LeBaron is wanted by the FBI for a series of murders in the 1980s, carried out based on the “Book of the New Covenant.” It was scriptures that her father wrote while in the Utah State Prison, where he was serving time for murder. However, federal authorities called it a “hit list.”

Ervil LeBaron died in the Utah State Prison in 1981. But in the years following his death, more than two dozen mysterious deaths occurred that ex-members of his Church of the Lamb of God believe are linked to the book, which was smuggled out of the prison.

“I’ve tried a lot of homicide cases, but this is the first time where I’ve seen a book where it outlined who was to be killed and why they are to be killed,” assistant U.S. Attorney for Houston Terry Clark told Fox 13 in November 2009. “And it’s not just talk. Many of these people have, in fact, been murdered by the LeBarons.”

To this day, some people still live in hiding because they are on the hit list, Fox 13 News has learned. Some of Jacqueline’s siblings were all convicted — but she remained on the run. She was believed to be hiding out in Latin America after a series of slayings in Texas dubbed the “Four O’Clock murders,” because they were all carried out simultaneously at 4 p.m.
[…more…]

– Source / Full Story: FBI arrests fugitive daughter of polygamist Ervil LeBaron, Ben Winslow, Fox13now.com, May 13, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Jacqueline Tarsa LeBaron, who has been a fugitive since 1992, is in federal custody and will have a court hearing in the next few days.

She faces charges including conspiracy to commit murder for consideration, murder for consideration and conspiracy to tamper with a witness.

In 1988, three church members and a member’s 8-year-old daughter were slain simultaneously in Houston and Irving for breaking church commandments and trying to leave the church, the FBI said.

Five LeBaron family members were later convicted of participating in the murder plot, but Jacqueline Tarsa LeBaron evaded custody until Thursday.

The FBI said they believe many of Ervil LeBaron’s more than 50 children still follow their father’s teachings.

Jacqueline LeBaron has long been suspected of being in Latin America. In 2006, the FBI said they believed LeBaron was in Mexico where the sect once had polygamist colonies.
[…more…]

– Source / Full Story: Fugitive suspected in slayings nabbed in Honduras, Moises Mendoza, Houston Chronicle, May 13, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

See Also

Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement (Book)
Prophet of Blood: The Untold Story of Ervil Lebaron and the Lambs of God (Book)

FBI pursuing new leads in manhunt for last LeBaron fugitive

The FBI is pursuing fresh leads in the search for the last wanted member of Ervil LeBaron’s murderous polygamous family — believing that some of her old ties here in Utah may still be helping her.

Federal authorities on Tuesday released a new photograph of Jacqueline Tarsa LeBaron taken last year in Honduras by a man who befriended her on a trip to the Latin American country.

“He met her socially,” FBI Special Agent Juan Becerra said of the man. “They happened to become friends because they both spoke English and Spanish.”

The man came back to the United States and read a news article about the renewed search for LeBaron, who was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted list in the years since she disappeared in 1988. LeBaron is wanted in connection with four murders carried out simultaneously, believed to be in the name of her father, polygamist leader Ervil LeBaron.

The man recognized her and called federal agents. He also gave them a photograph of the 42-year-old woman considered armed and dangerous and living under more than 15 aliases.

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction, and we’re pleased with the information that’s been generated so far,” said Special Agent Shauna Dunlap of the FBI’s Houston office, where the hunt for LeBaron is based.

“We hope it continues to generate information from the public. That’s what’s going to solve this case, is a tip called in from the public,” she said Tuesday.

The FBI tried to have the man contact the woman, who was going by a different name.

“He tried to get a hold of their contacts down there,” Becerra said. “She’d since left Honduras.”

Federal agents believe LeBaron is still living in Latin America, working as a teacher. The FBI in Salt Lake City also believes that someone in Utah may still be in contact with LeBaron.

“There are strong ties to Utah, and somebody in this community — whether they’re in the underbelly of polygamy — they may know where she’s at,” Becerra told the Deseret Morning News. “Give it up.”

On June 27, 1988, at approximately 4 p.m., four slayings were carried out simultaneously in Houston and Irving, Texas. All of the victims were killed by shotgun blasts to the head, including an 8-year-old girl who witnessed her father’s murder.

The deaths were believed to be connected to Ervil LeBaron’s scriptures that preached “blood atonement” to those who broke the Church of the Lamb of God’s commandments. LeBaron ordered the assassination of a rival polygamist leader in 1977 and died in the Utah State Prison in 1981.

In the years after Ervil LeBaron’s death, there were a series of slayings and suspicious deaths involving as many as 30 former church members, including the four that Jacqueline Tarsa LeBaron is accused of participating in.

In 1992, six members of the LeBaron family were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of murder, conspiracy to obstruct religious beliefs and racketeering. Five were convicted. Jacqueline is the only one to remain at large.

Last year, the Deseret Morning News reported that some of the ex-members of the LeBaron group still live in fear of the infamous “hit list.” The FBI refuses to say if the list remains active, but said recent stories have generated fresh leads for agents to follow.

“From your stories, that publicity assisted in gaining additional interest in her,” Dunlap said. “That has certainly helped.”

The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to LeBaron’s capture. Anyone with information is urged to contact their local FBI office or the Houston branch at 713-693-5000.