SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- An agent for a polygamist sect in Utah bought a 60-acre parcel of land near Mancos, Colo., telling authorities it would be a corporate hunting retreat.
The same man, David Allred, bought a 1,691-acre ranch near Eldorado, Texas, in November for a supposed hunting retreat. But a few months later, leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints church acknowledged to Texas authorities that ranch was intended as refuge from pressure on the church from attorneys general in Utah and Arizona.
The sect is based in the border towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Ariz.
About the same time as the Texas purchase, Allred bought the 60 acres of land in Colorado midway between Cortez and Durango.
It came to the attention of local authorities when a tax assessor trying to measure the property was turned away. Colorado investigators used the Internet for a background check of Allred and found a news stories about the Texas ranch.
The insular enclave came to national attention early this year when church leader Warren Jeffs began exiling men, saying they had sinned, and dividing their wives and children among other men more faithful to his leadership.
Last summer, Jeffs and the church were named in lawsuits alleging he and others sexually molested a boy, were ousting male adolescents and young men, and fired one member from his job because he no longer adhered to the faith. All three suits are pending in Utah's 3rd District Court.
Sam Brower, an investigator for some of the disaffected sect members, was in Mancos on Friday trying to serve amended complaints on Jeffs at property he described as "tucked away, a little hideaway.
"There's a few houses there. I don't know what's going on," Brower said. "It could be for Warren, maybe Uncle Fred is stashed away there."
"Uncle Fred" Brower was a popular sect bishop who hasn't been seen since early this year.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-10-23-04 1447MDT