(SALT LAKE TRIBUNE) -- Samuel Bateman, the leader of a small new offshoot of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was arrested during an FBI raid Sept. 13 on charges of child abuse and destroying evidence.
Since then, nine girls identified in court documents as wives taken by Bateman have been in state custody in Arizona — until, feds say, eight of them suddenly left a week ago and traveled to multiple states with his adult wives, keeping in touch with their jailed polygamist leader through video calls.
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Court documents filed last week revealed the nine girls who were removed from Bateman’s residences in Colorado City by Arizona child welfare officials were placed in group homes in the suburbs of Phoenix.