Nearly 200 Pulled From Polygamists' Ranch

State workers question kids about abuse, neglect claims
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2008 6:56 PM CDT
Officers stand at the entrance to the El Dorado Civic Center Friday, April 4, 2008, in El Dorado, Texas, after children were removed in buses from a nearby polygamist retreat.   (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)
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(Newser) – State workers bused out dozens more women and children today from the Texas compound of a polygamous sect, CNN reports. Troopers and child protection officers have removed 183 people, 137 of them children, since sealing off the ranch Thursday night. Investigators are now interviewing the kids, most of them girls, at a nearby civic center about claims of physical and sexual abuse.

"We're trying to find out if they're safe," one officer said. "We need to know if they have been abused or neglected." Troopers are still scouring the compound, near Eldorado, for Dale Barlow, 50, who is suspected of having a child with a 16-year-old girl. The compound was founded 4 years ago by polygamist Warren Jeffs, who has since been convicted of rape and now faces incest and other charges in Arizona.