SALT LAKE CITY – The FBI has arrested the fugitive daughter of polygamist Ervil LeBaron, bringing what ex-members of the fundamentalist church hope is an end to several decades of bloodshed.
Jacqueline LeBaron was arrested in Honduras and flown to Houston on Thursday, FBI Special Agent Shauna Dunlap told Fox 13. LeBaron is believed to have been hiding in Latin America for years.
The arrest was made by Interpol, with the help of the consulate in Honduras, Dunlap said. She will make her initial appearance before a federal judge in Houston on Friday.
LeBaron is wanted by the FBI for a series of murders in the 1980s, carried out based on the “Book of the New Covenant.” It was scriptures that her father wrote while in the Utah State Prison, where he was serving time for murder. However, federal authorities called it a “hit list.”
Ervil LeBaron died in the Utah State Prison in 1981. But in the years following his death, more than two dozen mysterious deaths occurred that ex-members of his Church of the Lamb of God believe are linked to the book, which was smuggled out of the prison.
“I’ve tried a lot of homicide cases, but this is the first time where I’ve seen a book where it outlined who was to be killed and why they are to be killed,” assistant U.S. Attorney for Houston Terry Clark told Fox 13 in November 2009. “And it’s not just talk. Many of these people have, in fact, been murdered by the LeBarons.”
To this day, some people still live in hiding because they are on the hit list, Fox 13 News has learned. Some of Jacqueline’s siblings were all convicted — but she remained on the run. She was believed to be hiding out in Latin America after a series of slayings in Texas dubbed the “Four O’Clock murders,” because they were all carried out simultaneously at 4 p.m.
Jacqueline Tarsa LeBaron, who has been a fugitive since 1992, is in federal custody and will have a court hearing in the next few days.
She faces charges including conspiracy to commit murder for consideration, murder for consideration and conspiracy to tamper with a witness.
In 1988, three church members and a member’s 8-year-old daughter were slain simultaneously in Houston and Irving for breaking church commandments and trying to leave the church, the FBI said.
Five LeBaron family members were later convicted of participating in the murder plot, but Jacqueline Tarsa LeBaron evaded custody until Thursday.
The FBI said they believe many of Ervil LeBaron’s more than 50 children still follow their father’s teachings.
Jacqueline LeBaron has long been suspected of being in Latin America. In 2006, the FBI said they believed LeBaron was in Mexico where the sect once had polygamist colonies.
Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement (Book)
Prophet of Blood: The Untold Story of Ervil Lebaron and the Lambs of God (Book)