Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The False Prophet: Warren Jeffs


Warren Jeffs
Warren Jeffs

The FBI responded immediately by sending two special agents from the violent crime and major offenders squad to the scene. When the FBI arrived and began questioning the suspects, the man in the back seat of the car finally revealed his true identity after having earlier told troopers a false name. He quietly stated that he was indeed Warren Steed Jeffs, the man for whom they had been searching. Adrian Arambulo of KLAS TV quoted Dutchover as saying that after giving his name, Warren "sighed like it was over." After 14 months on the run from the FBI, the jig was finally up and Warren was arrested on the spot.

FBI agents further identified Issac Jeffs as Warren's younger brother and the woman who was riding in the vehicle with them as Naomi Jeffs, 32, one of several dozen of Warren's wives. Issac and Naomi escaped charges and were released at the scene, although the vehicle was confiscated. Investigators were more interested in taking Warren into custody and processing the contents of the vehicle, which held a goldmine of evidence.

Arizona and Utah border
Arizona and Utah border

Investigators found within the SUV three wigs, sunglasses, four laptop computers, numerous credit cards, and 15 cell phones, about $55,000 in cash within the lining of one of the suitcases, four portable radios, police scanner and a GPS device. It became increasingly clear to investigators that Warren, his wife and brother had been living out of their car, skipping from town to town in an effort to avoid police. As the evidence mounted, it also became clear that those within the polygamist sect that he led were funding his life on the run and occasionally housing him in secret.

To his thousands of followers living in polygamist communities spanning from Mexico to Canada, Warren was a prophet and the authorities were on the side of the devil. They would do anything to protect their leader, even if it put them in jeopardy of getting arrested.  They were simply following what they believed to be a higher command, one which advised them to keep their polygamist way of life quiet. However, as investigators delved deeper into the polygamist sect that Warren led, they uncovered other more serious crimes that had also been hushed up, which included arranged marriages with children, pedophilia, incest, and child slavery. They were ghastly crimes, all of which Warren was accused of committing.  

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