A father’s effort to find his son will move today to a jailhouse interview room, where attorneys will ask polygamous sect leader Warren S. Jeffs to disclose the toddler’s whereabouts.
Jeffs had until Wednesday to provide Wendell Musser, 22, with information about his son, Levi. If he failed to do so, 5th District Judge James L. Shumate said Musser’s attorneys could interview the sect leader under oath.
“Apparently, Mr. Jeffs is not concerned that Wendell Musser has no idea where his son is after 13 months,” said Roger Hoole, who with his brother, Greg, represents Musser.
Musser and his wife Vivian Barlow cared for some of Jeffs’ wives from December 2005 to June 2006 while the sect leader was in hiding. Last summer, Musser was exiled from the faith and separated from his family after being arrested for driving while intoxicated.
Musser, who now lives in Idaho, had a brief meeting with his wife and child on May 25 in Hildale after filing a lawsuit aimed at enforcing his rights as a father. Musser said Barlow, 20, refused to agree to let him be involved with their son.
Since then, Musser has had no information from Barlow or anyone else about his son, who will turn 2 on Monday.
His attorneys will meet with Jeffs at the Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane. Greg Hoole said Richard Wright, a Las Vegas attorney assisting with Jeffs’ criminal defense, also plans to attend.
Wright did not return a telephone call from The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday.
Roger Hoole said he had prepared four pages of questions for Jeffs.
“We won’t have to go through all the questions if we get the answers to the initial things,” he said. “I am going to be wondering as I’m asking these questions what could motivate this man to go to such lengths to separate a boy from his father.”
Shumate approved numerous sanctions if Jeffs or others continue to interfere with Musser’s parental rights. Those include a $600-plus daily penalty on Jeffs’ jail commissary account, seizure of personal property such as cash, cell phones and vehicles and liens on property held by the FLDS church or its members.
“We will pursue all remedies,” Roger Hoole said. “But apart from the sanctions that he faces, the shocking thing is he seems not to be concerned at all that Levi Musser hasn’t seen his father and his father doesn’t know how to get a hold of him.”
Jeffs faces two felony charges of being an accomplice to rape for conducting a 2001 marriage between an unwilling 14-year-old bride and her 19-year-old cousin. The trial is set to begin Sept. 10.