2 teens who fled polygamy in hiding

Girls move from home to home, give frequent interviews

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. — Two Arizona teenage girls who ran away from their polygamous homes will remain in hiding despite several official requests to turn themselves in, a family member says.

“I talk to the girls every day and know they are safe, but I’m not going to advise them to come out because I can’t guarantee their safety,” said Joni Holm, a sister-in-law to 16-year-old Fawn Holm, who left her Colorado City home in mid-January with a neighbor girl, Fawn Broadbent.

Anti-polygamy activist Flora Jessop, a former Colorado City resident who also ran away from her parents nearly 18 years ago, drove the girls from a safe house in southern Utah to Phoenix as news cameras and reporters recorded their flight across state lines.

The teens were placed in temporary state custody, but the two look-alike redheads fled again when Jessop was ordered by a court to stay away from the girls. Jessop maintains the girls ran a second time because they feared Arizona officials were planning to send them home.

Since then, the teens have been moving from home to home and granting numerous interviews with local and national media.

“We are very concerned to see the girls showing up in different media outlets,” Andrea Esquer, spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, said on Thursday. “They should be in school and in a stable, safe home. That is what they say they crave. The people who are doing this are doing a great disservice to the girls.”

Temporary custody of the teens was earlier awarded to the state, she added.

“Even though they’re not physically in our custody, we are going to continue to be an advocate for them in the courts,” Esquer said. “We are concerned about what will happen to the girls once the media stop paying attention to them. Someone is setting up those interviews with the girls. Reporters aren’t just walking up to them on the street.”

Esquer said “no comment” when asked whether investigators are keeping an eye on Jessop’s movements, adding “This is an ongoing investigation.”

“They’re not just rebellious, hard-to-handle girls,” said Joni Holm, who said she remains in contact with Jessop, who is also in contact with the girls. “The reality is that Fawn Holm is never going back home. She doesn’t want to. Fawn Broadbent calls her mother every few days, but not Fawn Holm.”

An underground network of unnamed people is now harboring the two Fawns and providing for their daily needs, she said.

“I don’t know where they’re at physically, but I do know where they’re at emotionally. It’s getting really old for them,” said Joni Holm, whose 18-year-old daughter, Megan, is staying with the runaways and helps look after them. “Megan regrouped, picked up her insulin and got back on the bus. I sent some money along for the girls. They’re afraid to go out; afraid they’ll be picked up and put into a state foster home in Phoenix. They don’t dare go out.”

Joni and Carl Holm are seeking custody of both girls. While Fawn Broadbent’s parents appear willing to consider the couple’s offer, Fawn Holm’s parents are determined to keep their daughter from moving in with their estranged son and his wife.

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Deseret Morning News, USA
Apr. 7, 2004
Nancy Perkins

Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday April 7, 2004.
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