Texas police believe that three of the late polygamist cult leader Ervil LeBaron's sons who are wanted for questioning in the Monday murders of four people may still be in the Houston area.
Houston police spokesman Dan Turner said police are still looking for the three men - Heber, Andrew and Aaron.Police want to question them about the murders of Mark Chynoweth, 36; his brother Duane, 31; Duane's daughter, Jennifer, 8, all of Houston; and Eddie Marston, 33, of the Dallas suburb of Irving.
They were all gunned down at three separate sites Monday about 4 p.m. at the exact anniversary of the murder of the LDS Church founder Joseph Smith.
"We are thinking they are still here in Houston," said Turner. Lawmen said they were watching the homes of several known associates of the LeBarons in both the Houston and Dallas areas, hoping the LeBarons might show up.
Lawmen suspect that the trio could be leading a band of up to 10 of Ervil's children, grandchildren and others - all age 18 or younger. Many of those children - and Aaron LeBaron, 20 - showed up in Colorado last year seeking refuge with the family of former LeBaron lieutenant Dan Jordan, who had left Ervil's cult to form his own church.
A few weeks later in October, Jordan was murdered while on a hunting trip near Manti. Aaron was in the camp near where Jordan was killed. After Jordan's funeral in Colorado, Jordan family members reported Aaron brandished weapons and told Jordan's family that he had life and death power over it. Police arrested him, but charges against him were later dropped.
The other LeBaron children and grandchildren who had been with Jordan's family were placed in Colorado foster homes. But all ran away on the same night and have not been seen since. Some investigators fear the young LeBarons may be seeking revenge against one-time followers of their father whom he considered traitors for leaving his group.
Lawmen said they also found a wife of Andrew LeBaron, who met and fell in love with him in the Dallas area.
"She was a good Methodist girl and didn't know anything about this polygamist stuff. When they were married, Andrew supposedly said let's go to Cancun, Mexico, for our honeymoon - and they ended up in Colonia LeBaron," a policeman said.
"She was there six months before she figured how to get out in the dead of night." Her location is now secret, and she fears for her life.
She also told police that Heber, Andrew and Aaron LeBaron talked in Mexico "about gaining control of the children because they were the future."
While police continued looking for the LeBarons, the families of those murdered announced that a funeral for all four victims would be held Saturday afternoon at a north Houston mortuary.
"We will be there," said Turner.
The police hope tight security will dissuade any possible violence at the funeral. Followers of Ervil once planned an armed attack at the funeral of Utah polygamist Rulon Allred, but backed out when they saw heavy police protection.
Turner said he could not disclose which Chynoweth relatives had been placed in protective custody in Houston. It is believed that Mark's wife, Lillian, and sister, Rena, are still in the city. Irving police Sgt. Richard Gilmette confirmed that Ramona Marston, Eddie's sister, had left Irving for Houston and was helping police in their investigation.
Rena Chynoweth and Ramona Marston were once charged with being the trigger women in the murder of Rulon Allred - the only murder that Ervil was convicted of ordering. Ervil died in the Utah State Prison in 1981.
Rena was aquitted of that murder. Ramona jumped bail before the trial, later pled guilty to bail jumping and in turn had the murder charges dropped.
Rena is especially considered to be at risk from the murderers because her brother Duane and his daughter Jennifer were murdered after being lured to deliver an appliance to a vacant house on "Rena Street" in Houston.
In both Houston and Irving, police said they were trying to regroup after two stressful days of investigations. Houston and Irving police planned to meet for the first time Friday to compare notes on crime scenes, weapons and information obtained from Utah police, Gilmette said.
Utah authorities have provided photographs, a chart of the family connections and patterns of crime, Turner said.
Gilmette said Marston has no other known relatives in Irving. Although he had a girlfriend, he was a loner who was apparently trying to build his appliance business, Ed's Appliance.
Ervil LeBaron's followers had long earned their living by setting up a chain of businesses nationwide that bought old appliances, fixed them and resold them for a higher price. Marston and the Chynoweths were originally sent to Texas by Ervil to start up such a business there.
Irving police have been unable to produce a composite drawing of a suspect in the Marston shooting.
"A witness only got a brief glimpse of him," he said.
Houston police do have a composite drawing of one suspect - and some say it looks much like Heber or Aaron LeBaron with a beard.
Gilmette said that police had not attempted to contact the headquarters of the LeBaron clan in Colonia LeBaron, Mexico, and a visit there is unlikely.