10K reward offered for polygamist church leader

PHOENIX – Arizona and Utah’s attorneys general on Wednesday announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the reclusive leader of a polygamous church based in communities along the states’ common border.

Warren Jeffs, who has not been publicly sighted in months, was charged in Arizona in early June with counts that include conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.

“I find it hard to believe (Jeffs is) the active leader of 10,000 and no one knows where he is,” Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said.

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The FLDS is also considered to be a cult of Christianity. Sociologically,the group is a high-control cult.

Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, are dominated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a sect that broke away from the Mormon church and practices polygamy.

Capturing Jeffs, 49, is considered a key to ending the turmoil in the two towns, where polygamist men marry one wife legally and then take on other women as so-called “spiritual” wives.

Goddard said Jeffs could be any number of places, including Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico or Canada.

When Jeffs was indicted last month, he was believed to have been at a compound near Eldorado, Texas, where a four-story temple is being constructed by the FLDS sect. Eldorado is about 40 miles south of San Angelo.

But officials with Goddard’s office said no one had been seen coming in or out of the compound for some time.

When the FBI added Jeffs to its list of wanted people last week, officials said that since his indictment, Jeffs was believed to have been in Colorado and at another polygamist community with ties to Colorado City in British Columbia.

On Wednesday, authorities weren’t making any claims about his whereabouts.

“He has gone, very efficiently, underground,” Goddard said.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
Associated Press, via DFW.com, USA
July 13, 2005
Beth DeFalco

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