DNA Tests on Polygamists Begin
Officials seek foster home for 416 children
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2008 4:37 AM CDT
Members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints file out of the Tom Green County Courthouse following the custody hearing in Friday.   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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(Newser) – Texas officials begin taking DNA samples today from 416 children removed from a  polygamist sect and from adults who lived with them. The tests will be used to sort out the parentage of the children in the confusing mix of families with multiple mothers on the sprawling Eldorado ranch, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Once samples are collected, all the children will be placed in foster care as an investigation continues into the sect's suspected practice of allowing men to marry underage girls. Officials have confirmed that mothers who were allowed to stay with young children will soon be separated from them. A judge ruled last week that preliminary evidence indicated children were at risk of abuse, and they may be held for at least six more weeks.