Polygamist Cult Leader Arrested After Year Running From FBI

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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The leader of a radical polygamist offshoot of the Mormon church was arrested Wednesday in South Dakota after a year on the run from the FBI.

Lyle Jeffs, a leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), went on the run after the FBI charged him and 10 other members of his sect last year with food stamp fraud of at least $12 million and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

A judge released Jeffs to home confinement after his indictment, despite warnings from family and friends that he would likely flee. Ten days later, he escaped.

Jeffs is believed to have used olive oil to slip off his ankle monitor.

The FBI offered a $50,000 reward in August of 2016 for information leading to his arrest. Jeffs’ lawyer even later suggested he may have actually been raptured.

Jeffs had one legal wife, eight “spiritual wives,” and nearly 60 children according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Jeffs is the brother of Warren Jeffs, a former leader of the FLDS sect, who was imprisoned for life for child sexual assault in 2011 for taking a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old kids as child brides.

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