Polygamous sect’s DNA testing results arriving in Texas

SAN ANGELO, Texas – Stacks of reports that describe how genetic tests have matched children and parents from a polygamous sect continue to arrive at the Tom Green County Courthouse.

Janece Rolfe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Attorney General’s Office, said Tuesday that reports will filter into the courthouse throughout the week. They are being delivered to 51st District Judge Barbara Walther, who ordered them to clear up confusion about identities of parents of the children removed from the YFZ Ranch in April.

Rolfe said she “couldn’t guess” how many had already been delivered to Walther.

How the samples will be used now is unclear.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services had asked for the tests, claiming FLDS parents had thrown a “cloak of silence” around family relationships that made it difficult to determine parentage.

That became moot on Monday when Walther signed an order returning the children to their parents. And earlier, the state had successfully matched parents and children for court hearings.

Many of the children’s parents, members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints denied being evasive, saying they had consistently provided accurate family information to state investigators looking into abuse allegations at the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado.

Walther ordered the DNA tests in mid-April. The state hired Laboratory Corporation of America, based in North Carolina, to collect samples from 600 adults and children. Each test cost $100, according to Rolfe, a tab the state picked up.

She said the reports will be shared with attorneys, parents and DFPS – but not with anyone conducting a criminal investigation at this point.

“They would have to seek a court order [for that],” she said.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday June 4, 2008.
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