MINOT – A man wanted for a First-Degree Felony in Utah, discovered in a secluded area approximately two miles north of Strawberry Lake, made an appearance in North-Central District Court Monday afternoon on a charge of Fugitive from Justice. Heber Jeffs, 54, was wanted by police in Piute County, Utah on a charge of child kidnapping.
Jeffs is the nephew of imprisoned polygamous leader Warren Jeffs of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. According to police in Utah, Heber Jeffs and his 10-year-old niece had gone missing after he told Rose Jeffs, the girl’s mother, that she wouldn’t see her child again unless she returned to the Fundamentalist Church.
Jeffs, who was arrested by the FBI this past Saturday, wore black and white striped jail attire as he was brought into the courtroom. Judge Todd Cresap explained to Jeffs that he could apply for a court appointed attorney and had the right to know “who wants you and why.”
Following Jeffs’ approval to waive extradition, the accused asked to be able to make a few phone calls. Cresap agreed, saying, “We can accommodate that within the restrictions of the Ward County Jail.”
Cresap explained that the state of Utah has 10 days to come and get Jeffs or he would be released from jail. However, should that occur, it would not exonerate Jeffs from the charges against him.
Jeffs had been residing in a remote location approximately two miles north of Strawberry Lake in McLean County. No official information was available on the status of the 10-year-old niece. However, the girl’s father, Dowayne Barlow, reportedly told a news outlet in Utah that the girl was safe and would be returned to Utah.