Rangers release new details in FLDS case
The Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety is actively pursuing Rozita Swinton of Colorado Springs, Colorado, as a "person of interest" regarding telephone calls placed to a crisis center hotline in San Angelo, Texas, in late March 2008.
Two Texas Rangers traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado, on April 16 and met with officers from the Colorado Springs Police Department to discuss a possible connection between Swinton and telephone calls made regarding activities at the polygamist Yearning For Zion (YFZ) Ranch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in Eldorado, Texas.
Texas Rangers accompanied the Colorado Springs officers while they executed an evidentiary search warrant at Swinton's residence for items related to previous false reports to authorities in Colorado. During the search, officers found several items that indicated a possible connection between Swinton and calls regarding the FLDS compounds in Colorado City, Arizona, and Eldorado, Texas.
These items of interest to Texas authorities were seized by the Colorado Springs Police Department and released to the Texas Rangers. These items will be evaluated and forwarded to various crime laboratories in Texas for analysis. The Texas Rangers, with the approval of local officials in Colorado, requested that the affidavit for the search warrant for Swinton's residence be sealed by an El Paso County, Colorado judge. A judge granted that motion, and the Texas Rangers will not comment further on these items.
Swinton became a "person of interest" several days after law enforcement agencies entered the YFZ facility on April 3. The Department of Public Safety entered the compound after the child abuse center in San Angelo told law enforcement about several distressing calls from a female caller that she was inside the YFZ compound and needed immediate help.
The seriousness of these calls was conveyed from the family crisis center to Child Protective Services (CPS). The CPS then contacted the Schleicher County Sheriff's Department in Eldorado, Texas, who immediately requested the assistance of the Texas Rangers for the massive operation.
Once officers had gained access to the property, investigators obtained a second warrant based on evidence they witnessed regarding possible sexual assault.
The information leading the Texas Rangers to Swinton took several days to develop with intelligence and assistance from numerous law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada, including he United States Marshal's Service in San Antonio and Denver and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia, Canada.
The information, evidence and a statement obtained from Swinton by the Texas Rangers while they were in Colorado will be forwarded to state and federal prosecutors for their review and determination as to whether Swinton will be charged with a criminal offense.
The Texas Rangers are continuing their investigation into the underage marriages of adolescent females with older males within the sect.
Since this is an ongoing investigation, DPS and the Texas Rangers will have no further comment at this time.