Authorities in Texas go after Jeffs' DNA
In search warrant, AG contends that FLDS leader married at least 4 underage girls
KINGMAN - Yet another state may be seeking criminal charges against polygamous leader Warren Jeffs. The Texas Attorney General's Office confirmed Friday that it had requested a warrant for DNA samples from Jeffs from the Mohave County Superior Court. The warrant was issued and signed Thursday by Commissioner Lee Jantzen.
Jeffs is awaiting trial in the Mohave County Jail on four felony charges of sexual conduct with a minor and incest as an accomplice. He is accused of arranging the marriages of two underage girls to older men.
The Mohave County Attorney's Office is denying any involvement in the search warrant.
"The Mohave County Attorney's Office did not file a search warrant or a search warrant affidavit for Warren Jeffs' DNA. It is my understanding that the DNA was requested by Texas," Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith stated in a news release Friday.
Trish Carter, public information officer for the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, confirmed that a KPD officer and an officer from the Texas Attorney General's Office collected two samples of DNA from Jeffs on Thursday. She also confirmed that MCSO was not involved in the execution of the search warrant.
In the search warrant, TAG alleges that Jeffs entered into spiritual unions or marriage with at least four girls between the ages of 12 and 14 at the Yearn for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas. The marriages allegedly took place between 2004 and 2006. Texas does not allow teens under the age of 16 to marry. At least three of the girls had children while they were under the age of 16.
According to the search warrant, the information used to request the warrant was found in documents and photos during the April 3 search of the YFZ Ranch. According to the warrant, TAG is asking for the DNA samples in order to determine if Jeffs is the father of any of the babies born to the three girls.
It is possible that Jeffs could be charged in Texas with sexual assault of a child, aggravated sexual assault, bigamy and prohibited sexual conduct.
Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for TAG, declined to comment on whether charges would be brought against Jeffs or why TAG chose to use KPD to get the warrant and help collect the evidence instead of MCSO.
"This is an on-going investigation," he said.
The warrant for Jeffs' DNA is not part of the custody battle swirling around the YFZ Ranch, Strickland said. It is a separate criminal investigation.
More than 400 children and women were removed from the ranch during a raid by Texas authorities in April. On Thursday, the Texas Supreme Court ordered that the children be returned to their parents.