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Eldorado search warrants detail seizure of multiple items

SHARE Eldorado search warrants detail seizure of multiple items

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Texas authorities released 88 pages Friday, detailing a multitude of items seized from a ranch of Fundamentalist LDS Church members.

Items taken from the property included photographs, computers, hard drives, journals and identification papers. Also listed were many clothing items, including dozens of collections of white clothing, "temple clothes," shoes, belts, slips and one "clip-on tie."

One of the more unusual items listed was a "cyanide poisoning document."

"Those were simply pages from a first aid book, nothing more," said Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger.

At least two videotapes of SWAT teams making entry into the temple were also seized from the compound, according to the documents.

Officers also took a video from a birthing room as well as a pregnancy test, cell phones, cameras, pedigree charts and contents from a shredder. Texas Rangers Capt. Barry Caver said Thursday he couldn't determine whether the documents had been shredded during the search or sometime before it.

Also among items were medical files and photographs of girls and women with the same name as the purported 16-year-old pregnant young mother who called a crisis hotline from the ranch to say she was being physically and sexually abused. It was her phone calls that prompted Texas officials to raid the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado.

Authorities still have not been able to determine if the girl is among the 416 children removed from the ranch over the past week and placed into state custody.

At least four medical files for patients with the same or similar name as the caller were also seized, as well as "laboratory receipts" for several different girls with the same name.

Judge Barbara Walther ruled earlier this week that all of the evidence will be stored for safekeeping until a yet-to-be-identified third party can sift through it to determine if any of the items should be protected under an attorney-client privilege or a clergy-parishioner privilege.

The search warrants authorized police officers to confiscate any information that will help state officials better determine the identities of the 416 children taken from the ranch as well as who their parents are. They were ordered to seize any photographs or devices that could potentially store photographs, such as cell phones.

Other items, which were categorized into 327 entries, include: flash drives, Books of Mormon, children's notebooks, tax records, writing assignments, a folder labeled "attitude and behavior weekly sheet," report cards, baby books, letters from attorneys, "Texas Stake of Zion Bishop's Records" and a paper entitled "My Testimony."

The documents do not specify where each item was originally located on the 1,700-acre ranch.

The search warrant "return" also lists several pages of "miscellaneous documents" from cardboard boxes in addition to "prison mail," "Warren Jeffs records," "mail from Canadian Saints" and "mail from houses in hiding."

Warren Jeffs, the sect's leader, is currently in an Arizona jail awaiting trial on two separate cases. He was convicted last year in Utah of rape by accomplice for his role in the underage marriage of a 14-year-old to her 19-year-old cousin.

E-mail: bwest@desnews.com