Many of the mothers who were removed from a temporary shelter Monday and returned to a ranch owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were preventing their children from cooperating with state officials, authorities said Tuesday. The 416 children had been taken into custody after a raid at the polygamist sect's West Texas compound.
"We believe [that] the children who are victims of abuse or neglect, and particularly victims at the hands of their own parents, certainly are going to feel safer to tell their story when they don't have a parent that's coaching them how to respond," said Marleigh Meisner, a spokeswoman for Texas' Child Protective Services.
Authorities continue to have difficulty determining the identity of many of the children. "A lot of the children can't name who their parents are," Meisner said. "Many of them believe they have more than one set of parents."
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