FBI Re-Opens Violent Case with Ties to Utah

FBI Re-Opens Violent Case with Ties to Utah

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John Hollenhorst ReportingThe FBI is offering a new reward in a very old murder case, one that involves a polygamy cult responsible for more than two dozen murders. It is trying to find the daughter of cult leader Ervil LeBaron.

Jacqueline "Tarsa" LeBaron is accused of playing a key role in a wave of assassinations in the 1980s. The most spectacular murder plot of the LeBaron polygamy cult was in Texas. Three teams of assassins gunned down three former members simultaneously, in three locations. They also killed the young daughter of one victim.

The killers were carrying out a hit-list cult leader Ervil LeBaron left behind when he died in the Utah State Prison. In the 1990s five cult members were convicted and sent to prison. Ervil's daughter, Tarsa LeBaron, has been on the run ever since. The FBI recently posted a $20,000 reward.

Tim Fuhrman, FBI special agent in charge, said, "We have not given up on the case, and we want the public to know that we do not give up on these types of cases, particularly in this situation where we have a brutal murder of an 8-year-old girl."

According to the court testimony in the 1990s, she set the multiple murder plot in motion. At the time, the LeBaron cult supported itself by stealing cars. When cult members opened the trunk of a stolen car and found a cache of guns, she said it was a sign from God to begin carrying out her father's hit list.

Fuhrman said, "We do know that at some point in time she relocated to Mexico. She was employed as an English teacher."

Readers Digest profiled the case in the latest issue. The trail has been cold since the FBI traced her to a specific town in Mexico where she was teaching.

"You know there's speculation because she is fluent in both Spanish and English, she could easily move from Mexico to the United States and back. Or she could be in another Spanish-speaking country," Fuhrman said.

The long, bloody trail of the LaBaron cult has many links to Utah. The FBI hopes the reward might prompt someone here to come forward.

The FBI says Tarsa LeBaron should be considered armed and dangerous. If you know anything, they suggest calling local law enforcement or your nearest FBI office.

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