Rival: Wanted Polygamist Probably in Canada

A U.S. polygamist on the FBI's most wanted list is probably in Canada, his Canadian rival said Tuesday.

Winston Blackmore, who leads a breakaway Mormon polygamous sect based in British Columbia, said Warren Jeffs would be the "dumbest person if he weren't in Canada."

But at a news conference, Blackmore did not say whether he knew where Jeffs was.

Jeffs heads the FLDS church, a polygamist sect that broke away from the Mormon church when it abandoned polygamy more than a century ago. He is considered by his followers to be a prophet, but he has not been seen in public in nearly two years.

He is wanted on criminal charges of sexual conduct with a minor and for arranging plural marriages of underaged girls. He is also wanted for fraud.

Jeffs excommunicated Winston Blackmore several years ago and the local community is now divided almost down the middle between Blackmore followers and Jeffs followers.

Blackmore characterized their split Tuesday as something akin to a family feud.

"If he was in a vehicle, I'd look the other way. We are extended family," he said, adding: "The fact that he's a federal fugitive, my apologies to the FBI, is not our problem."

Blackmore said the $100,000 reward announced earlier this month will likely have results, especially if the FBI keeps increasing it.

"There's a Judas in every crowd," he said.

Blackmore told a newspaper columnist last week that he expected to face charges himself within days. That has not happened yet, but he said scrutiny on his community has increased, likely because of the hunt for Jeffs.

Leah Barlow, one of the Blackmore's many wives who runs a midwifery clinic in the community, said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have paid particular attention to the records her clinic keeps.

"At the end of the interviews, I came to the conclusion that it was all about gathering evidence to lay charges on the person we love the most," she said referring to Blackmore.

She said investigators came to the clinic with a search warrant and had gone through all the records to look at the ages of wives and the ages of the women delivering babies at the clinic.

Officers asked some intensely personal questions, she said.

"We don't even share some of the things they asked with each other," she said.