A 15-year-old boy from a reclusive, fundamentalist Mormon sect was shot and killed Saturday.
RCMP and the B.C. Ambulance Service received a report of an accidental shooting at a home near Yahk and the Kingsgate border crossing in southeastern British Columbia.
They were not able to revive Lance Palmer.
Creston RCMP, along with the RCMP’s South East District Major Crime Section, are investigating.
Palmer’s death comes just as the RCMP are wrapping up a separate, two-year investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse within the polygamous sect.
Palmer was a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. So is Macrae Blackmore, Palmer’s grandfather and the owner of the isolated, residential compound at the end of a forestry service road where Palmer’s body was found.
The compound has long been rumoured to be the Canadian hiding place of FLDS prophet, Warren Jeffs, who is on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List along with Osama bin Laden. Jeffs is a fugitive from charges related to sex with minors in both Arizona and Utah.
What makes this and all police investigations of this community difficult is that members have been raised to distrust the police, the government and outsiders. That is due largely to the fact that even though it is rarely prosecuted, polygamy is a criminal offence and has been since 1892 in Canada and 1890 in the United States.
However, they also believe that they are God’s Chosen People, the only ones who will survive the coming apocalypse, and everyone else is an agent of the devil who might steer them down the wrong path.
Under Jeffs, that suspicion and fear of outsiders has intensified.
Jeffs became the group’s leader after his father, Rulon Jeffs, died in 2002. The son bypassed the traditional succession line, splitting the Canadian fundamentalist Mormon community. That community is centred in Bountiful but has members scattered though Kingsgate, Yahk, Canyon, Creston, Cranbrook and Sundre, Alta.
About 500 Canadians follow Jeffs. Another 700 or so follow Winston Blackmore — Macrae Blackmore’s younger brother — who was the bishop of Bountiful until Jeffs excommunicated him in 2002.
Jeffs, who reportedly has more than 70 wives and more than 100 children, has been described by Utah Attorney-General Mark Shurtleff as exercising the same control over his followers as the Taliban did in Afghanistan.
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