A look inside homes searched by federal agents looking for evidence of underage marriages in the FLDS splinter group

Samuel Bateman was arrested and remains in prison in Arizona on charges of destruction of evidence and child molestation.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The so-called “Green House” raided by the FBI on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, following the arrest of Samuel Bateman in Colorado City, Arizona.

Colorado City, Arizona • In the early hours of September 13, dozens of FBI agents armed with guns — and a search warrant — descended on a small, historically polygamous community that straddles the Utah-Arizona border.

They parked their cars haphazardly along the muddy red dirt roads in Colorado City, Arizona, surrounding a small green house where Samuel Bateman lived with his closest followers.

They had just raided a warehouse where Bateman was spending time and some of his followers were working. Agents then searched the green house and a second nearby – a larger light blue house where some of Bateman’s other followers resided.

That day, federal agents arrested Bateman, the leader of a small new offshoot of the polygamous fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), and ransacked his homes. Arizona Child Protective Services officials briefly removed nine girls from Bateman’s homes that day and placed them in state custody a day later.

Bateman’s supporters allowed a Tribune photographer to document what the properties looked like after FBI agents spent the day searching their homes.

The green house

According to community residents, Bateman lived in this little green house with his closest followers.

Inside the green house, included in the foyer or “prayer room” was a rendering of a multi-million dollar, 40-bedroom marble home. Bateman said in a YouTube video he posted that he dreamed of building this new home on federal land, a place where he could bring the Queen of England to visit.

Bateman and up to two dozen others shared the two-bedroom home in Colorado City, Arizona, near the Utah state line.

A framed card lay on Bateman’s bed after federal agents spent several hours searching his home. His followers referred to Bateman as “father,” they told The Tribune.

A framed photo of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, who is serving a life sentence in Texas for sexually abusing two girls he took as polygamous wives, was in the home. Several of Bateman’s followers told The Tribune that in 2019 he began telling them that he was the new prophet and that Jeffs either died in prison or was translated — a teaching of the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints based on God relates a person from mortal to immortal. Bateman told them Jeffs would only speak through him, they said.

A vision board pinned to the wall above a workspace in Bateman’s home depicted dreams of a lavish future life. Bateman claimed in a YouTube video that he spent $70,000 on business mentorship programs and communicated with billionaires.

A tiara rested atop stacks of books on religion, financial power, and baby names on a shelf in Bateman’s home.

Another vision board was framed and hung in Bateman’s house. Bateman achieved his goal of having luxury cars – he was often spotted around town in a white leather jacket as he traveled in a single file of two Bentleys wedged between two Range Rovers.

The blue house

Other members of Bateman’s group lived in a large blue house two blocks from where Bateman lived, according to supporters.

In FLDS culture, a “Zion” sign hung over a door signifies ardent faith and devotion to their faith. The entrance through which federal agents went when they began searching for the blue house had a “Zion” sign on it.

A member of Samuel Bateman’s group revealed the condition of a bedroom after FBI agents raided and ransacked it.

A regular daily routine was pinned to the wall in a common area of ​​the house.

A portrait of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs hung on the wall in a common room of the house. Other distinguished Church leaders on the opposite wall were Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Leroy S. Johnson, and Rulon Jeffs.

The warehouse

Bateman maintained a small warehouse in Colorado City where he spent time and women worked in call center jobs. It was one of the properties federal agents searched on September 13.

At Bateman’s warehouse after federal agents searched it, a property receipt showed that federal authorities had seized computers, a hard drive, Bateman’s birth certificate, and handwritten notes and journals. According to the document, they also took two adult toys and several cell phones.

A declaration of love was written on a whiteboard in the warehouse.

A list of drink recipes was left at camp. The paper scheduled a different trailer each day at 7am, 10am, 12pm, 3pm and 4pm to deliver Bateman drinks. “Father wishes all his drinks to be on time,” it says.

On a stack of papers and magazines in the warehouse was a note with positive confirmations and tasks to be completed.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2022/12/06/look-inside-homes-raided-by/ A look inside homes searched by federal agents looking for evidence of underage marriages in the FLDS splinter group

Justin Scacco

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