(Phoenix, Ariz. - July 13, 2005) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced an unprecedented reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of fugitive Warren Jeffs. Jeffs was indicted in June on one count of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor. Both are class 6 felonies, and if convicted, Jeffs’ could face anywhere from four months to two years in prison. He is the leader of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a polygamist sect based in Colorado City.
“Jeffs’ influence over the members of the FLDS church has led to numerous child abuse charges,” Goddard said. “His hold on this community continues to hurt its members, and it is time he answered to these charges in a court of law.”
The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office will take any calls in this case. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Jeffs’ is asked to contact the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office at 1-800-526-1911 or 928-753-2141.
The reward is being offered jointly by Goddard and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. It marks the first time the Arizona Attorney General’s Office has offered a reward in pursuit of a fugitive.
“The Arizona and Utah Attorneys General, the Mohave County Attorney, the Mohave County Sheriff and the FBI are working together to address various crimes and problems confronting the Colorado City/Hildale community,” Goddard said. “Bringing Jeffs to justice is a top priority in our combined effort.”
Jeffs, 49, was charged in a federal warrant last month with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. He is described as 6-feet-4, 150 pounds, with brown hair and eyes.
The reward is the latest step in a series of recent efforts to address issues of concern in this remote Arizona town. Other actions include:
- Indictment of Eight Colorado City Men: The Mohave County Attorney secured indictments against eight other Colorado City men in the past month on charges of sexual conduct with a minor, conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor and sexual assault. The eight men have made their initial appearances in Mohave Superior Court, and all posted bond.
- United Effort Plan Trust: The Utah Superior Court suspended the control of UEP trustees, including Warren Jeffs, and appointed a receiver who will inventory the trust assets. The trust has been estimated at more than $100 million and includes extensive land holdings, homes and businesses in the Colorado City area. The Utah court is preparing for a hearing to consider placing new trustees in charge to ensure the interests of the trust’s beneficiaries are protected.
- School Receivership Law (HB 2417): The Attorney General’s Office championed legislation enacted this year that allows the State Board of Education to place school districts in receivership if they are being financially mismanaged. The new law goes into effect in August, and the AG’s Office is preparing a petition to present then to put the Colorado City Unified School District in receivership.
- Colorado City School District Search Warrant : The Attorney General’s Office served a criminal search warrant on the Colorado City Unified School District on May 24, taking into custody many boxes of financial records, other documents and computer equipment. The district bounced paychecks to teachers last year and faces a large deficit this year. The records were taken as part of an ongoing investigation of the district’s finances and also to ensure they would not disappear before the district is placed in receivership.
- Decertification of Colorado City Police Officers: The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZPost) will hold a hearing in August to determine if two members of the Colorado City Marshall’s office will keep their peace officers’ certifications. Colorado City Town Marshal Sam Roundy and Officer Vance Barlow were decertified by the Utah Post in March 2005, and charges have been filed in Arizona against both officers based on Utah decertification cases.