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June 15, 2017 06:01 PM

How Lyle Jeffs Was Caught

Sioux Falls, SD

Another member of the controversial Jeffs family now has a connection to South Dakota. After nearly a year on the run from federal authorities, polygamist leader Lyle Jeffs of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is behind bars.

The FBI had a $50,000 reward out for Jeffs, who fled supervised home release in Salt Lake City last year. That sparked a huge search for him that had the FBI putting out a poster saying that you should consider him armed and dangerous. Today, we learned that he was picked up in KELOLAND.

It's been a year since law officers have seen this man. After being captured last night, Lyle Jeffs appeared in federal court this afternoon in Sioux Falls. During today's hearing, Jeffs learned he will be brought back to Utah by the U.S. Marshal's Office where he will face charges. 

Yankton County Chief Deputy Sheriff Michael Rothschadl says that on Tuesday, Jeffs went to River City Tools & Pawn, in Yankton. An employee there, tipped off by Jeffs' I.D., called Yankton police. The employee noticed a silver pickup outside and advised police that Jeffs may have left in it. On Wednesday night an off-duty detective saw the pickup at the Yankton marina. Police stopped the vehicle in the Lewis & Clark Resort area, and Jeffs surrendered without incident. Jeffs was the only person in the vehicle, and Highway Patrol transported him to Sioux Falls.

Earlier today in Salt Lake City, authorities held a news conference.

"We have good reason to believe that Mr. Jeffs had been in the area for at least two weeks, and was living out of his car. Yankton is about six hours from Pringle, South Dakota, where the FLDS has a compound," Eric Barnhart, special agent in charge of the FBI's bureau in Salt Lake City, said.

Jeffs, along with other people from the sect, have faced fraud and money laundering charges. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Salt Lake City tells KELOLAND News that Jeffs will now face charges for his escape in Utah.

"We look forward to proceeding in a civilized, organized manner to bring this case to a trial on its merits in the near future," John Huber, U.S. attorney for Utah, said.

Barnhart says that right now, there is "no solid evidence that anyone was helping him."


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