Fleeing teen turns up in Sandy

Deseret Morning News/May 11, 2004
By Nancy Perkins

Colorado City, Ariz. -- Four months of hiding is over for one teenage girl who said she ran away from a future life of polygamy.

Fawn Broadbent, 17, has resurfaced in Sandy, Utah, where she now lives in the home of Carl and Joni Holm.

"It's good," Broadbent said Monday in a telephone interview. "I can settle down now and go get my stuff and call home whenever I want. I think I'll like it better."

Broadbent and Fawn Holm, a 16-year-old neighbor girl, ran away Jan.11, just one day after Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, headquartered here, excommunicated nearly two dozen men.

Anti-polygamy activist Flora Jessop drove the girls from southern Utah to her home in Phoenix as television news cameras recorded their flight. The teens were first placed in a home of Jessop's choosing by Arizona authorities, but Jessop was later ordered by the court to stay away from the girls.

That's when the two Fawns, as they have come to be known, suddenly disappeared from Arizona's oversight and went underground with Jessop's help. Custody hearings have since been held and rescheduled numerous times for the girls, their parents and the many attorneys involved.

Broadbent's parents, Mathew and Kathryn, said they have always wanted their daughter to be happy and think they could have helped her without Jessop's help.

"We're not forcing her to do anything. We want the best for her, and I'm sure that what was happening to her wasn't the best," said Mathew Broadbent, who remains here in this polygamist community and agreed late last week to allow his daughter to live with Carl and Joni Holm. "Of course, we'd like it if she was happy here at home. But if she doesn't want to be here, then we aren't going to force her."

Joni Holm, who is Fawn Holm's sister-in-law, said she is happy that one girl is finally under her legal care.

"I have quite a lot of respect for the Broadbents. If it wasn't for the love they have for their daughter, she wouldn't be here," Joni Holm said. "But I'm also kind of in a frustration mode that we don't have Fawn Holm here with us. I fear for her safety, especially now because of her separation from Fawn Broadbent."

Fawn Holm's specific location remains a secret, said Joni Holm, who added she is able to speak often with her young sister-in-law.

"She's pretty close. She's OK," she said. "Fawn Holm does not want to go home. It'll never be the same for her again there, ever."

Fawn Holm's parents said they would like their family reunited and resent Jessop's interference. A July court hearing is scheduled to settle the custody issue.

Fawn Broadbent said she called home on Mother's Day and can't wait to see her younger brothers and sisters again. She said she's looking forward to attending school and hopes to study fashion design.

"I have a list of things I want to do," she said, adding her list includes finding a boyfriend. "This is going to be OK. It's difficult because it's such an adjustment and it's so far away (from Colorado City). But it's good."

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