Why Schleicher County? Now we know
Why did Warren Jeffs and his followers in the FLDS church choose Schleicher County as the place to build their first-ever temple? The question has perplexed area residents for nearly five years. Now, with the release of hundreds of pages of documents seized during the YFZ raid, we can report the answer. Jeffs said he was led to Schleicher County by divine revelation.
Jeffs detailed in dictations recorded by one of his scribes that the Lord revealed to him the name of two cities. He said he would travel to the cities before receiving the name to additional towns as he was systematically guided to Eldorado.
Once here, Jeffs said he noted the resemblance to the limestone hills in Jackson County, Missouri, the place where Mormon faithful, including Jeffs' fundamentalists, believe the God will eventually lead his people to establish the "Center Stake of Zion."
Prophecy of favored wife's death preceded Jeffs' 2007 meltdown
Warren Jeffs prophesied the death of Naomie Jessop, perhaps his most favored wife on January 16, 2007, while in jail in Washington County, Utah as he awaited trial on charges of Rape as an Accomplice.
Then, a mere two days later, Jeffs said the Lord awakened him and told him that Naomie had indeed been taken in death and that she was with the Lord at that time.
The problem was, Naomie Jessop, his most frequent jailhouse visitor, was still very much alive — a fact that may have contributed to what many call a mental breakdown.
What followed was series of bizarre incidents. Jeffs reportedly attempted suicide, was hospitalized and placed under psychological evaluation. He even renounced his role as prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to his brother Nephi, who came to visit him in the Purgatory Correctional Facility.
Texas child welfare officials accuse FLDS mother of switching babies
A 17-year-old FLDS mother, identified in recently released court documents as Teresa Steed, is accused of offering up another woman's child for court-ordered DNA testing, and trying to pass that child off as her own.
Documents filed last Thursday by attorneys for the Texas Department of Family Protective Services reveal that the young mother was ordered to appear with her child at a November 25, 2008 court hearing. When she failed to do so, a second meeting was arranged for her to bring her child for genetic testing by state authorities.
When the meeting finally occurred, teenage mother showed up with a baby she that said was her own. However, DNA testing has revealed that the baby was not Teresa Steed's biological child.
Hilderbran bill seeks strong protection for abused children
AUSTIN — State Representative Harvey Hilderbran (R-Kerrville) filed child-protective legislation last week that would require courts to consider the actions of all adults in the household before determining whether the child or the alleged abuser should be the one removed from the home.
“In the Eldorado incident last year, in my view we should have removed the suspected perpetrator, not the victim,” Hilderbran said. “But we have to know for sure that the remaining parent would really be protecting the child. If they are going to let the alleged abuser back in the home, then keeping the child there isn’t a viable option.”
Five years and counting, YFZ story still dominates news
CPS and CASA at odds over YFZ custody cases
Many in the statewide and national press are running stories this week about the first anniversary of the April 3, 2008 raid at the YFZ Ranch. Even Oprah Winfrey, the queen of daytime TV, made a trip to Schleicher County last week to tape a show that aired Monday, March 30th.
Meanwhile, here in Eldorado, where local citizens seem to take a longer view of events, the story is entering, not its second year, but its sixth.
Among the latest news is a report of a rift between Texas Child Protective Services, or CPS, and representatives of CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children. At the heart of the disagreement are the differing missions of the two agencies, despite the fact that both work in the child welfare arena.
CPS, a state agency overseen by the Texas Department of Family Protective Services, is mandated by the state to work toward reunification of a family anytime a child is removed by the courts. CASA, on the other hand, is free to advocate for other courses of action, provided the CASA volunteer believes it is in the best interest of the child.
Photo offers first glimpse inside FLDS temple at YFZ Ranch
The public has its first look inside the FLDS temple after a photo was released to the Associated Press this week. The photo (at right) shows crime scene investigators gathering evidence inside the Celestial or White Room on the temple's 4th floor during the now famous raid on the YFZ Ranch last April.
Authorities entered the temple on Saturday, April 6, 2008, to serve a search warrant as they went from building to building on the sprawling 1,692 acre ranch.
The pedestal bed was found partially disassembled and stored in a closet or storage room behind the double doors shown in the photo. Investigators say they saw signs that the bed had been assembled previously and rolled into the large Celestial Room. A small ramp, shown leaning against the wall in the photo, had apparently been built to make easier to roll the bed over the doorway threshold.