One of many structures located on the Four Corners property visible from Chopper 4. There were also trucks, motorcycles, gardens — but no people.
A member of a polygamist sect based in Texas that has been making national headlines owns a 100-acre property with several buildings in the Four Corners area.
The land near Mancos, Colorado — about an hour north of Farmington — was quietly purchased in 2003 by a man named David Allred, the son-in-law of self proclaimed prophet Warren Jeffs.
Their sect — the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints — broke away from the Mormon Church when it renounced polygamy.
Jeffs is currently in prison for arranging marriages between underage girls and older men, but other sect members are still circulating.
Tom Vaughan, the retired editor of the Mancos Times, has been following the development of the property since its purchase and says he has no idea how many people live there.
While the population remains a mystery, Vaughan knows a lot about the buildings.
“There’s a salmon colored house, original property that the previous owner built,” says Vaughan.
Then there’s what used to be a barn with its first floor open: “They closed in the barn, and so now it’s carried on the tax rolls as a four-bedroom, four-bath residence,” says Vaughan.
“Then there’s this little house that’s speculated Uncle Freddy was hidden out in,” he adds.
Uncle Freddy was an elderly man, once viewed as a rival to Warren Jeffs, who some claim was kidnapped and held against his will for about a year. He mysteriously emerged at a Colorado hospital and died days later.
“There’s the big house that’s alleged to be six bedrooms and six baths,” Vaughan continues. “They wondered if this was going to be a hideout for Warren Jeffs.”
Vaughan says that in recent years a light colored, late-model BMW SUV registered to one of David Allred’s wives has been at the big house on the property.
During a pass over the property, no people were visible from Chopper 4 but there were plenty of signs of life.
Trucks, motorcycles, water that’s trucked in, three well maintained raised-bed gardens and what could be the beginnings of a much larger garden were visible, but no people.
Mancos Marshal Bryan Jones shares the same road with the property’s occupants and lives within a mile of the compound. They share the same dirt road and are just a driveway away from each other.
Asked if he has any interaction with them, Jones said, “I wave and occasionally the gentleman driving the truck will wave back and that’s been it.”
Asked if he’s seen a woman or any children, Jones says, “Nope.”
“I really don’t think this is a retreat for the rank and file,” said Deputy County Assessor Scott Davis. “This is the guys on top.”
Davis says the workers in Texas that have been the object of such attention “weren’t allowed to watch television, but here there’s a satellite dish attached to the house. Somebody gets to watch television.”
With the heat on in Texas, some people in the Four Corners area are wondering if the sect is getting the compound ready for new arrivals.