Below is an interesting article from Prairie Fire Journal.
After getting a few hours sleep, I decided it was time to start doing some digging and pointing some fingers. I
n a previous post, I listed a couple of info tidbits that I thought point towards Flora Jessop as being behind the phone call that lead to the State of Texas kidnapping 416 children from the YFZ ranch, as well as being the unidentified informant mentioned in court affidavits used to secure search warrants of the YFZ ranch. Well, I’ve now arrived at my own conclusions about her and others involvement in this whole sordid mess.
I don’t believe she did it all by herself, but was assisted by long-time law enforcement acquaintances of hers operating in and around Schleicher County, Texas. There’s no smoking gun, yet, but things seem to be pointing in a certain direction.
Flora Jessop has made the media rounds over the years telling her story of how she escaped from the FLDS at age 16 while living in Colorado City, Arizona. Since that time she has been an outspoken critic of the FLDS and operates under several different anti-polygamy groups, including Help The Child Brides, The HOPE Organization, and the Child Protection Project.
She is unabashed in proclaiming her vehement hatred of the FLDS, and it’s obvious from reading some of her own commentary, as well as some from the media, that pulling off a hoax in order to achieve “the great escape” would be right in line with her rhetoric.
In her autobiography, Flora tells the story of her 14-year-old sister Ruby who ran away from the FLDS in 2001. On her sister’s behalf, Flora sought help from Arizona authorities, but, she claims, the authorities thwarted her efforts and Ruby was sent back to her FLDS family in Colorado City. Flora claims that since then the FLDS has kept her sister hidden. Flora has been on an unrelenting crusade against the FLDS in the name of her sister ever since.
Flora loves basking in the media spotlight, and such an event as has occurred in Texas would certainly elevate her to a prominent spot as a highly sought after interviewee.
There are some troubling aspects concerning Flora’s tactics, as revealed in a Los Angeles Times Magazine article dated August 4, 2004 and entitled “Flora’s War.” I found a reprint of the article on rickross.com, a website operated by the Rick Ross Institute, a non-profit organization that studies controversial groups and cults.
According to the article, after founding Help the Child Brides, Flora labored in obscurity until orchestrating the escape of two teenage girls, Fawn Holm and Fawn Broadbent, from Colorado City in January 2004. It turned Flora into an overnight media sensation. However, the events that followed didn’t bode well for Flora.
According to the article, the girls ran away from their foster home after a judge ordered Flora to sever contact with the two girls. Arizona attorney general Terry Goddard accused her of scaring the girls off, and the Phoenix New Times described her as a publicity-hungry “fanatic” whose “demands to have control over someone else’s children are becoming eerily similar to the dictatorial attitude of her sworn nemisis, Warren Jeffs.” Goddard described her as “misguided and devious.”
The article also quoted Flora as saying, “I don’t use the bridge, I just jump across the canal.” Linda Binder, an Arizona state senator and vocal critic of the FLDS, is quoted as saying, Flora “wants to go in there guns blazing, get everybody out.” Those are prophetic words indeed, considering the assault that took place on the FLDS in Texas.
At about the same time that Flora’s frustrations with her lack of success were growing, Warren Jeffs was in the process of building a new FLDS community near the small town of Eldorado, Texas. Tipped off by a local resident about the construction activities at the YFZ ranch, Flora made a pilgramage to Eldorado in March 2004, where she held a press conference and met with local law enforcement officials. It was at this time that Flora found a new ally for her war against the FLDS in the form of Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran.
Sheriff Doran immediately accepted everything Flora fed to him as being credible and for the past four years he has been gobbling up every word of hers like a child let loose in a candy store. Texas Ranger Leslie Brooks Long, the affiant of both search warrant affidavits, was also in attendance.
It’s well established that the community of Eldorado harbored an outright hatred toward the FLDS, among them Sheriff Doran. Doran publicly acknowledged that there wasn’t anything he could do until he found some evidence of illegal activities at the YFZ ranch, but that he would be keeping an eye on the FLDS.
In the meantime, Flora did what she could to enflame the passions of hatred by the locals. Four years passed without any significant movement on the part of law enforcement and Flora, just as she had done in Arizona, likely became irritated by the state’s failure to act as she thought they should.
So now the question arises: Being sympathetic to Flora’s cause and sharing her frustrations with pesky legal roadblocks, did Sheriff Doran act in concert with her or others to concoct a way to get the state off its butt and move in on the FLDS with “guns blazing” and fulfill Flora’s dream of being the Moses of the FLDS women and children, leading them in a law-enforcement-backed exodus to the promised land?
Sheriff Doran was itching for just one legal premise, no matter how tenuous it might be, to conduct such an operation against the FLDS. All he needed was the outcry from one person allegedly inside the ranch and a judge willing to subvert the Constitution. All Sheriff Doran had to do was to get his foot in the door, so to speak, of the YFZ ranch and law enforcement would be able to conduct an unhindered fishing expedition for the “evidence” necessary for the state to roundup all the children. It was time to “jump the canal.”
It’s unlikely that a 16-year-old girl residing at the YFZ ranch had knowledge abou the existence of the New Bridge Family Shelter in San Angelo, the family shelter that allegedly received multiple phone calls from a girl identified as “Sarah” on March 29-30, 2008. But someone who has extensive experience with protective services and access to a database of shelters, such as Flora Jessop, would have such knowledge, even if that person was located outside the state of Texas.
Two of the shelter’s employees affirmed in the original affidavit for a search warrant, that some of the phone calls lasted approximately 42 minutes to 1 hour in duration. If life on the YFZ ranch is as restrictive as Flora Jessop claims, how was a teenage girl living there able to converse on a cell phone with Family Shelter employees for such extended periods of time?
It’s even plausible that the calls were orchestrated by some of Flora Jessop’s allies in Texas law enforcement-Sheriff Doran and Texas Ranger Leslie Brooks Long. Both have connections with Flora Jessop that extend back to her March 2004 press conference in Eldorado. Texas Ranger Long is the affiant of both search warrant affidavits.
This is an ongoing work in progress. I’ve only scratched the surface and will continue to provide more info as I dig deeper into this fiasco. In the meantime, you might also want to check out these letters to the editor of an Idaho newspaper concerning an article they published in 2005 on Flora Jessop. Very enlightening!