This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
©Posted: 9:29 AM- SAN ANGELO, Texas --- Sounding weary and anxious, Merrill Jessop spoke briefly to The Salt Lake Tribune Tuesday about the law enforcement investigation now in its fifth day at the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado.
Jessop, who oversees the ranch and is a presiding elder in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, said a sizeable law enforcement force remains at the ranch.
He said the ability to communicate with those outside -- and family members taken from the ranch -- is rapidly diminishing as officers confiscate cell phones "as fast as they find them."
Tom Green County District Judge Barbara Walther issued a new search warrant Sunday that allows officers to take away cell phones and other communication devices.
Jessop said that those at the ranch have no Internet or television access and have no way to know what has become of the 133 women and 401 children taken from the ranch since last Thursday. He expressed concern for their well-being.
"There needs to be a public outcry that goes far and wide," he said. "What's coming we don't know. The hauling off of women and children matches anything in Russia or Germany."
Jessop said he was a young man at the time of the 1953 Short Creek Raid, when Arizona authorities took away all the community's women and children and kept them in state custody for two years.
Jessop said there were "a lot of things that need to be said" and that attorneys representing the sect would be doing that, presumbably in a court hearing set for Wednesday.
Back at Fort Concho, media watched as a group of 9 young boys were walking around a grassy parade field. The boys approached the fence at one end of the field, where reporters called out to ask if they were being treated well.
One young man shook his head, no. As reporters moved closer to the fence, a CPS worker called the boys back to the buildings. One older boy then appeared to be being scolded by the worker.
Officers then approached the media and told them to move across the street.
The boys then returned to the middle of the field to play soccer.
Nathan Butler, one of the San Angelo lawyers for the sect, said there would be no immediate comment.