Former FLDS members suspect arson, harassment from local church

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COLORADO CITY, Ariz. — Some former followers of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints claim that they are being harassed and that they have been targets of sabotage and arson.

Investigators said the incidents took place in the Colorado City area, and the people targeted no longer practice the FLDS faith.

"It seems to be getting more aggressive. They're doing things that are more aggressive," said Isaac Wyler, former FLDS member.

Wyler said that he does a brief inspection of his truck before driving because of several recent incidents of sabotage. He said that over the last several weeks, someone put soap in the brake fluid reservoir and dumped sugar in his gas tank.

A trailer on the edge of town, belonging to another former FLDS member, was reportedly set on fire on Tuesday. Additionally, the large compound built for Warren Jeffs was shot up by someone with a high-powered rifle, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Wyler was excommunicated from the FLDS church in 2004, and he said he's been targeted in the past.

But the real question is, why has the harassment elevated?

"Well, anything is possible here. But I know that Warren has a lot of control over the people here. A lot of control," Wyler said.

Wyler believes a small group of Warren Jeffs' loyalists might be behind the harassment. Wyler also assumed that the targeting has increased recently because he's scheduled to testify in court in Arizona about incidents in Colorado City in recent years. He's been deposed already, as have Colorado City government leaders and law enforcement officers.

"I think it's because they're getting desperate, and they feel like they've got to drive us out before we actually get to court and start testifying," Wyler said. "There's going to be a lot of stuff that's going to come out in these court cases — things they don't want to come out."

Wyler said investigators from the Arizona attorney general's office are in the area looking into the harassment and have installed surveillance cameras on Wyler's property.

Wyler has been deposed, but the court date that requires his testimony has not been set.


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Keith McCord


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