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Polygamist Compound In Pringle, SD Not Hidden Well Enough

May 15, 2006, 5:30 PM by Don Jorgensen

Photo: Warren Jeffs
Photo: Warren Jeffs

He is on the FBI's most wanted list and could be hiding in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Warren Jeffs, a prophet to his followers, is the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS, the nation's largest polygamy sect.

Jeffs is on the run and hasn't been seen in two years. The FBI says Jeffs is known to travel with bodyguards and is considered armed and dangerous.

Don Jorgensen recently took a trip to Pringle, South Dakota, where Jeffs has one of several of his polygamist compounds.

compound 4

It's in a remote area of the Black Hills. Very few people have ever seen it or even knew it was there until last month when news broke about the suspected hideaway. And if you know anything about the FLDS, you know they don't like visitors.

The front gates to Warren Jeffs compound near Pringle are locked. No trespassing signs are posted. The compound is hidden by evergreens.

"People say you can't see the compound from the road, but if you take a little hike through the hills you're able to sneak up along side a ride and look over the compound and that's where we're headed right now," said Jorgensen.

It's 300-400 yard hike off from a bad road, we were told about from a neighbor.

"We're whispering because we don't want to be heard. My photographer, Mike Rank, and I came up here a day earlier to check out the area," said Jorgensen.

"We wanted to familiarize ourselves with the landscape and some of the people up here, knowing who we could trust and who we couldn't trust. Most everyone we've run into is very friendly, but very few people want to talk about the fundamentalist. Couple of neighbors didn't want to go on camera, but told us they are fearful of the fundamentalist fearing what they might do. But most let them go about their business neighbors tell us and they go about theirs, they don't bother us and we won't bother them."

When we get to the ridge, I keep shooting with a smaller camera. Mike sets up his news camera on a tri-pod to get a closer view.

compound 1

It isn't long before we see a woman come out the 3 story house wearing a long dress and carrying a bag. Another person opens the window above her.

There was other activity off to the side, but we couldn't tell what was going on. Someone drives off in a car.

Off to the left is a stock pile of lumber and what appears to be lots of firewood.
We've been told by people who have studied the FLDS, they have to have enough food, water and other supplies to last them an entire year. That's just how they operate. They are very self sufficient, growing their own food and constructing their own buildings.
Who we don't see is the man every law enforcement agency is looking for, Warren Jeffs.

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