Search for Teenager Continues at Eldorado Compound

Associated Press - April 6, 2008 1:55 AM ET

ELDORADO, Texas (AP) - The search continued for a teenager whose report of abuse initiated the raid on a West Texas polygamist compound.

Law enforcement maintained a roadblock miles from the religious retreat built by polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, and authorities provided no details after tensions escalated late Saturday when they were denied access to search the temple.

Allison Palmer, a prosecutor in Tom Green County, told the San Angelo Standard-Times that medical workers were sent to the compound "in case this were to a go in a way that no one wants." She had said authorities will forcibly remove the sect's followers "as peaceably as possible" if no agreement could be reached.

Early Sunday, a bus that appeared to be filled with women were at the civic center south of town, where a lawyer and law-enforcement officials were talking with them.

Authorities are searching for a 16-year-old mother whose report of alleged abuse led to a search of the secretive compound, and the removal of nearly 200 women and children by state caseworkers.

Palmer could not be reached for comment early Sunday. Other authorities, citing a gag order, continued to decline comment.

A search warrant authorized troopers to enter the retreat, run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They are looking for evidence of a marriage between the girl and a 50-year-old man.

Court documents the girl had a baby eight months ago, when she was 15.

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