Polygamists Feel Alienated as Police Search for Fugitive Leader

Law enforcement authorities meeting to discuss the search for a fugitive church leader now on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list didn't receive a warm welcome from the polygamous community.

Some residents were seen leaving town as police and prosecutors arrived Tuesday.

"People weren't exactly waiting for us with open arms in the front yard," Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard told the Deseret Morning News of Salt Lake City. "There's an awful lot of fences that have been built."

Warren Jeffs, 50, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is accused of arranging marriages between underage girls and older men.

The sect split from mainstream Mormonism after the broader church renounced polygamy in 1890. The mainstream LDS church excommunicates members found to be practicing polygamy.

Jeffs is wanted in Arizona on criminal charges of sexual conduct with a minor. He also was charged in Utah with rape as an accomplice. He was placed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list Saturday with a $100,000 reward.

Salt Lake City attorney Rod Parker, who represented Jeffs and the FLDS church from 1990 to 2004, said Tuesday that Jeffs' followers "feel under siege."

"They feel alienated," Parker said. "They feel that the government is out of their minds, and it's unreasonable."