Authorities remove 401 children from sect's Texas ranch

Texas officials have taken temporary legal custody of 401 children removed from a secretive polygamist sect's compound near Eldorado and are scrambling to place them in foster homes.

"In my opinion, this is the largest endeavor we've ever been involved in in the state of Texas," said Child Protective Services spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner, who said she was also involved in the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco.

The state also has in voluntary custody 133 adult women who accompanied the children to the holding facility established at Fort Concho in San Angelo, Meisner said. She said the women are free to leave Fort Concho, a former frontier-era outpost that is now a national historic landmark owned by the city of San Angelo.

Authorities still do not know the whereabouts of the 16-year-old girl whose phone calls about sexual abuse prompted the raid at the YFZ (Yearn For Zion) Ranch, about four miles from Eldorado.

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