FLDS Church Lawyers Ask Judge to Stop Search on Constitutional Grounds

by Crystal Crews
NewsWest 9

ELDORADO - New developments in the investigation into the Polygamist compound near Eldorado.   

Lawyers for the Church and Church leaders have asked a judge to stop the search of the commune on constitutional grounds.  

A hearing is now scheduled for Wednesday in San Angelo.  

Meanwhile, a house to house search is still underway at the remote ranch, and Child Protective Services faces the overwhelming task of interviewing hundreds of children removed from the compound.

Late Monday afternoon word of an arrest at the polygamist compound.

A man handcuffed and taken away for interfering with authorities in their search.

"It was of a gentleman who has been charged with a class B misdemeanor, interfering with the duties of a public servant," Tela Mange with the Texas Dept. of Public Safety, said.

We also have a better idea now of the staggering numbers of women and children removed from the ranch they call home.

"Child Protective Services has now taken temporary legal custody of 401 children. They have also had 133 adults join those children," Marleigh Meisner from the Texas Child Protective Services, said.

For many, this is their first trip outside the walls of the sprawling 17-hundred acre compound built by jailed Polygamist Leader Warren Jeffs.

"It's a tense situation for all involved," Meisner said.

This all started after a call for help from a teenager who said she was abused, forced into a marriage with a 50-year-old man, and told authorities she gave birth to the a man's child late last year, when she was just 15.

"I am confident that the allegations she brought forth are accurate,"  Meisner said.

Authorities still aren't sure if she is among those in San Angelo now.

"We may have found her, we are not certain. Remember these interviews, you can only imagine, 401 children," Meisner said.

The investigation continues as they question the families now on the outside, and search for evidence - and more potential victims on the inside of the compound.

Newswest 9 has learned the more than 400 children removed from the polygamist compound will be provided an advocate and a lawyer.

The shelter where the kids are staying is at full capacity.

Part of the problem is the 133 women who have voluntarily chosen to stay with the children in San Angelo.

CPS is now looking for foster homes to place the children in.