Leader of Polygamist FLDS Cult Has Escaped House Arrest in Utah

Even though prosecutors argued that the cult elder, Lyle Jeffs, was a flight risk, a Salt Lake City judge allowed him to be confined under house arrest.

by Candace Bryan
Jun 21 2016, 2:15pm

Image via FBI

Lyle Jeffs, the infamous leader of the polygamist cult, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has fled his home in Salt Lake City, Utah, just two weeks after he was released from jail.

Read more: Inside the Food Stamp Scandal that Could be the Downfall of FLDS Church

Jeffs was arrested in February of this year with ten other cult members for conspiracy to commit welfare fraud and money laundering. He was released from jail on June 9th by US District Judge Ted Stewart after his attorney Kathryn Nester said it would be unconstitutional to keep Jeffs in jail until his October trial. Until last night, Jeffs had been confined in his home with a GPS monitor, awaiting trial on the fraud charges.

The FBI has issued a warrant for Jeffs' arrest.

Prosecutors in the case argued that Jeffs was a flight risk and should not be released.

Read more: Tiny Tombstones: Inside the FLDS Graveyard for Babies Born from Incest

Judge Stewart had initially blocked Jeffs's request for release in April, citing Jeffs's history of evading law enforcement using aliases, as well as his extremely devout armed guards.

"Why the court would ever think the guy in charge of this criminal organization would not run is beyond me," said Sam Brower, a private investigator who has spent years tracking the FLDS church, told MSN. "The world needs to stop thinking about them as a religious group."

Broadly has been reporting on the Jeffs' case for several months, to read more click here.