FBI: 8 victims of polygamist cult ran away from State custody in Arizona, found in Washington state

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WASHINGTON — Eight young women who officials say ran away from their group home in the Valley have now been found more than a thousand miles away.

Federal investigators say the girls, ages 11 to 16, were part of a polygamist cult and were taken by others still in the group. The FBI says they are victims of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The underage girls were wives of the cult’s leader Samuel Bateman, a newly released affidavit detailing the FBI investigation said. A self-proclaimed prophet that reportedly had dozens of followers and more than 20 wives, many of whom were minors.

Bateman is currently being held in Florence after police say he was transporting three underage girls in the back of an unsecured box trailer in Flagstaff back in August.

They were in the custody of the Arizona Department of Child Safety and were living at group homes in Phoenix since September. They ran away from the group home last week with the help of three suspects also identified as Bateman’s wives.

Investigators learned the girls were contacting the suspects through email during the search of the home, the released document said. One of their hand-written journal entries said, “Today is the day we go home.”

Content retrieved from: https://www.12news.com/article/news/local/valley/fbi-8-victims-polygamist-cult-escape-state-custody-in-arizona/75-482c573c-9597-4425-89c2-23ffb2fcaf0c.

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