A 26-year-old woman who claims FLDS leader Warren Jeffs forced her into marriage at age 14 has been granted temporary custody of her six children and left a polygamist community in northwest Arizona, the attorney general's office said Tuesday.
Ruby Jessop, 26, was able to flee Colorado City with the help of the Arizona Attorney General's Office and Mohave County, AZ, officials, the news release said.
Her departure was made possible because Mohave County sheriff's deputies have a greater presence in Colorado City to provide law enforcement protection, Attorney General Tom Horne said.
"It is unacceptable that anyone would be married against her will and forced to live in a community in which she feels unsafe," Horne said. "Ruby Jessop was forced into marriage by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs who compelled her to marry her second cousin, Haven Barlow, in 2001. Her exact whereabouts were unknown for years until very recently when she was able to escape the town."
In 2001, Ruby's sister, Flora Jessop, approached the Attorney General's office complaining her sister, Ruby, who was then 14, was being held against her will in homes in Colorado City and Hilldale, UT. Arizona and Utah officials launched a major effort at that time to find Ruby, but she could not be found. It was only weeks ago that she finally escaped Colorado City.
"I thought this day would never come," Flora Jessop said. "It has been amazing to have my sister back with us. She's got amazing children, and it's been so much fun having them at my home."
Flora Jessop escaped a forced marriage to her cousin in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when she was 16 years old. She left the FLDS Church in 1986, and has been working to tell Ruby's story to the public. She is also helping others who want to escape from Colorado City.
Jeffs, is jailed in Texas for life after being convicted of sexually assaulting two of his underage brides.
Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News as this story develops.
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Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:11 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:11:15 GMT
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