FLDS church leader Lyle Jeffs in jail a year after fleeing federal custody

CBS News 2 KUTV, Utah/June 15, 2017

By Larry D. Curtis and D.J. Bolerjack

Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints leader Lyle Jeffs is behind bars in South Dakota almost a year after fleeing federal custody in Utah.

Sources told KUTV Wednesday evening that Lyle Jeffs, 56, had been located in South Dakota.

Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, confirmed Thursday he was being held with no bond on a Federal Marshals Service hold, meaning Jeffs' warrant for arrest was issued by a United States District Court.

The jail's website lists Jeffs as an inmate as of 11:43 p.m. June 14.

Jeffs fled custody in 2016, less than two weeks after a judge allowed him to await federal trial from a Salt Lake County area home.

Lyle Jeffs is a religious leader and brother to Warren Jeffs, who leads the FLDS Church, a sect of Mormonism that reveres him as God's prophet on earth. Warren Jeffs is currently jailed for child rape and leads the FLDS church from there, according to federal authorities.

Warren Jeffs was convicted of child rape of one of his underage brides in what his religion considers a "spiritual marriage" and was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years. DNA evidence showed he fathered a child with a then 15-year-old girl in 2008.

Lyle Jeffs was known to correspond with his brother, including since he has been avoiding federal custody.

The U.S. Attorney in Utah has issued a warrant for the arrest of Lyle Jeffs, who absconded home confinement.

The FBI said in June 2016 that it was leading the investigation and search for Lyle Jeffs with the assistance of local and federal law enforcement.

Warren Jeffs' son, Thomas Jeffs, told KUTV in 2016 that FLDS followers and family would be expected to help him while he evaded authorities and those who did not help could face consequence from the FLDS community.

Private investigator Sam Brower posted a letter he said was between the Jeffs brothers on Facebook months ago.

Lyle Jeffs was awaiting trial on conspiracy charges that include a multi-million dollar food stamp scheme and money laundering, was granted release from jail on June 9, 2016

KUTV spoke with Lyle Jeffs shortly after a judge granted him home confinement.

Lyle Jeffs, a leader in the polygamist communities in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, was one of 11 members of the FLDS church who was facing charges of conspiracy to commit Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The home confinement order allowed Lyle Jeffs, who was to stay at a home somewhere in Salt Lake County, to leave the residence for doctors appointments, religious services and a job.

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