Tense Colorado City custody standoff ends peacefully

Former FLDS woman reunited with her children

KINGMAN - Eight years after she fled Colorado City to get out of an abusive polygamous relationship, Sabrina Broadbent Tetzner was reunited with her four children Friday after a tense couple of days, according to Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson.

A Mohave County judge on Thursday awarded custody of the children to Tetzner, who's in her early 30s, but residents of the isolated polygamous community of Colorado City and Hilldale, Utah, weren't in a mood to oblige.

Dozens of them surrounded the home of Samantha Holm, the children's aunt, who allegedly refused to comply with the court's order.

Some of them urged Holm not to return the children, who are between the ages of 10 and 13.

While one news account reported about 600 residents surrounded the home, a photograph posted on Tetzner's Facebook page showed dozens of people, many of them women wearing old-fashioned dresses.

Mohave County Sheriff's deputies were called in to enforce the order, according to sheriff's office spokeswoman Trish Carter.

A few hours later they obtained a search warrant in order to enter Holm's home and retrieve the children as additional deputies were flying to Colorado City from Kingman.

Holm may face custodial interference charges, but none had been filed by Monday.

Johnson in a statement said a number of entities, including the FBI, the Mohave County and Washington County, Utah, sheriff's offices, the Defenders of Children Organization and others played a role in helping Tetzner.

One of them was Flora Jessop, whose family helped found the FLDS polygamous church. Jessop left the FLDS and her own abusive polygamous relationship years ago, and has since advocated for other women hoping to leave.

"This is a community terrorist group," she said. "These men are not afraid of anything. Because no charges have ever been brought against them, they feel they can get away with anything.

"This is why it is so important to get law enforcement in the area and to start bringing charges against these people for child abuse."

While Mohave County deputies escorted Tetzner and her four children to the state line, the FBI took over and escorted her to her home in northern Utah.

According to Johnson, FLDS followers trailed them the entire way, but some allegedly got there ahead of the escort and trashed her home.

They had covered the walls and floors in animal feces, according to Jessop, broke furniture and virtually made the home uninhabitable.

The family will live in a safe house until other arrangements can be made.

Tetzner posted the following message on her Facebook page afterwards:

"We want to thank all of you for your love and support these last few days. We have the children. They are safe and we're heading home."