Skip to main content

tv   2020  ABC  February 13, 2016 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

10:00 pm
from leaving. >> did you have any idea you were driving into a buzzsaw? >> no. >> reporter: we're taking you inside that 22-hour standoff. one frightened woman. >> stand back a little bit. >> reporter: standing up against abarmy of women wearing prairie dress answer identical braided hairdos singing hymns. and caught in the middle, children with one parent still in and the other one now out. but forbidden contact. >> open the door so i can see you. >> reporter: parents who were banished because they disagreed with church teachings, now trying to save their children they say from a life of forced labor and forced underage marriage. >> do you live in fear the prophet could take your family away from you? >> oh, yeah, absolutely. >> reporter: tonight we are getting in to see these three parents get their children out. >> i want my children now, all of them.
10:01 pm
>> this is human trafficking. >> reporter: in the fight of a lifetime. but only some will be freed. some will not. >> all i wanted to do was get the hell out of there. that's all i wanted to do, just shut that door. >> "flds: a house divided." welcome to "2020 saturday" i'm elizabeth vargas. >> a story we've been following our investigation of the flds, a house divided. the leavers versus defectors of the polygamist sect accused of breaking apart families, brainwashing children against their own mothers. >> one of the mothers has taken a stand saying the leader of the flds warren jeffs is still causing destruction even while locked away for life. here's dan harris and the terrifying standoff, a mother
10:02 pm
>> when sabrina broadbent is returning to what she considers the belly of the beast. the place where the darkest chapter of her life unfolded. >> there's so many followers out there that follow warren. they're all for warren. i just, i don't like it. >> reporter: this is a community known as "the creek," an isolated alternate universe set deep in the desert along the utah/arizona border. here the women wear prairie dresses. the men, at least the powerful ones, have multiple wives. and the homes have high walls and fences to keep out prying eyes. sabrina defected from the flds back in 2008, and she now lives 200 miles away in utah. her children fell into the care of her ex-husband's sister. her name is samantha. last april, sabrina wept to court seeking, and winging, full custody. >> i was on cloud nine. all this work up to this
10:03 pm
everything was just, so i could show the judge i did not abandon my kids. i did not. >> reporter: later that same day, she, along with her brother and her new husband, drive to samantha's house in the creek to pick the children up. did you have any idea that you were driving into a buzzsaw? >> no, no, i did not expect any of that. >> reporter: but the ordeal is just beginning. when they arrive, the kids are not there. so they wait. and just waiting provokes a reaction in the neighborhood. >> stay in the van. we'll get it on tape. >> no, i want to get out. >> reporter: suddenly more than a dozen vehicles encircle them, the private security force of the church known as the god squad. >> now they're backing up. >> the god squad. that's them. >> there's the god squad again. >> i just got a bad feeling in my gut, i'm like, lock the doors. >> reporter: you were spooked. >> yeah, i just -- i just got a bad feeling. >> reporter: it's well past midnight when a car containing sabrina's children finally slips into the driveway.
10:04 pm
oh, they're hurrying. slam the gate. >> reporter: sunrise. >> i am gonna give the sheriff a call. i am not even kidding. all the trailers are lit up. >> reporter: after spending the night in the van, sabrina spots her two sons. >> there's isaac. >> my cute little son. >> is that rulon? >> that's my baby ru. let's walk over there. they're all gonna duck. watch. >> reporter: her two daughters are out of sight. the children are clearly keeping their distance. and when sabrina goes to talk to her oldest, isaac, who's 13, it does not go well. he has no desire to leave the only world he's ever known. >> i said, "isaac, come here. let me talk to you." and he's like, "get away from me. get away from me, you apostate." and he jumped the fence and ran. >> reporter: what does it do to son talk to you like that? i did not want them to see me i did not want them to see me weak. children's primary caretaker, seems to be stalling for time.
10:05 pm
he will deliver these children. he's coming." >> reporter: so she actually believed that warren jeffs was going to break out of a prison several states away and come and protect these kids? >> yeah. >> obey the prophet when he speaks and you'll be blessed. disobey him, it is death. >> reporter: even though he's currently serving life in a texas prison for sexually assaulting two underage girls, including a 12-year-old he married, he is said to have ramped up the rigid discpline he demands of his followers. >> to watch a video, a movie, it is open disobedience. >> reporter: testing their faith through increasingly strange and seemingly random rules. it's 8:00, 14 hours into the standoff. church members are coming out of the woodwork. and though they may be forbidden from watching videos from the outside world, they're apparently allowed to shoot their own.
10:06 pm
right now. >> reporter: now the reality starts to set in for sabrina -- that custody order notwithstanding, getting her children back will not be easy. >> they won't send 'em out. they won't let me get them. i'll bet you there is at least 15 video cameras and they just tried to intimidate you. they all had cameras, they'd come right up to your face. they're obnoxious. >> reporter: the creek is not a welcoming place to outsiders. >> you back off, back off! >> i have a right to worship any damn thing i want, wear any damn clothes i want. >> reporter: and he turned around as soon as we did and i think he's right on my tail. drive into this community and you will almost certainly be tailed by the "the god squad," the private church security team that had encircled sabrina. can i just ask you a quick question? can i just ask you a quick
10:07 pm
>> no. >> reporter: can i just ask you a quick question? i guess not. on the rare occasion when you can actually get a church member to speak to you, what you will hear is unvarnished adoration for the imprisoned pedophile prophet. is that the view of what's happening with the prophet, that it's persecution? >> in my opinion, yes. >> reporter: do people feel like he'll come back? >> i do. >> reporter: that is exactly how sabrina broadbent does not want her children to end up. but in order to get them back, she is going to have to drink from a firehose of classic flds intimidation tactics. >> son, if you want to videotape, step back a little bit. >> this is how they treat people. this is how they treat people. and they think it's okay. >> reporter: while sabrina may seem like a hard-charging flds antagonist, her story goes much deeper. you not long ago, she was on the other side -- a die-hard church member, prairie dress and all. >> when you grow up in it, that's all you know. that's all you know. >> reporter: the wrenching story
10:08 pm
10:09 pm
10:10 pm
children, when we come back. sfx: ziploc bag opening sfx: ambient office sounds, a phone rings, laughter life makes you deal with things far outside your job description. life needs ziploc sfx: containers stacking sc johnson behind every open heart... is a story. a story about finishing the race... no matter what the obstacles. about rebuilding the bond between a mother and a daughter. or about helping build homes for others... because you remember what it felt like... not to have one. when you keep an open heart, amazing things happen. that's what the open hearts collection at kay jewelers is all about. right now, save up to 20% on select open hearts jewelry at kay. keep your heart open....
10:11 pm
every kiss begins with kay. hello my love! the flame is out... the flame is out, tomorrow my attitude... your mother... antonio. antonio. que? the stove. it's not working. campbell's microwaveable soups.
10:12 pm
tt2watu# s4 bt@qop< tt2watu# s4 "a@q_\x tt2watu# s4 bm@qtwt tt4watu# s4 " dztq 0 t tt4watu# s4 " entq @$4 tt4watu# s4 " gzt& y#l tt4watu# s4 " hnt& i- tt4watu# s4 " iztq #dx tt4watu# s4 " jntq 148 tt4watu# s4 " lzt& )yd "a house divided" continues. >> reporter: 2006. >> let's do it. >> ride. >> come on, come on. >> reporter: joe broadbent, an flds runaway, launches a series of commando style missions to extract his entire family from the church, by any means necessary. >> you can see them sad, depressed, hurt, scared. and i'm like, why not try to get them out? >> reporter: as seen in a documentary called "sons of perdition," his most adamant opponent is his oldest sister, sabrina. yes, ironically, the same woman who would later find herself on the other side of this conflict, was then a zealous defender of the church, here literally pulling on one of her sisters to prevent her from leaving. >> she wants to go.
10:13 pm
>> you can never stop praying and obeying. you never stop keeping sweet. >> reporter: when you grow up in it, that's all you know, you know? that's all you know. >> reporter: so, you thought warren jeffs was god's mouthpiece? >> right. >> reporter: the broadbent family tree is actually quite slender by flds standards. sabrina was raised in a household with one father, just two wives and 22 children. how old were you when you got married? >> i was 17. >> reporter: and was it somebody you wanted to marry, you got to pick, or -- >> no, they're just assigned to you. >> many a young lady gets married thinking her husband should submit to her will, but a woman's duty is to bless her husband. >> reporter: sabrina knew from the recorded sermons of warren wife is to obey her husband and bear children. and she did her duty, delivering two boys and two girls in rapid succession. her brother joe had a different duty, working without pay as a manual laborer. how old were you when you were
10:14 pm
>> i was 10 years old. i started driving a forklift when i was 12. in fact, i learned how to drive a forklift before a vehicle. >> so, they're brought up working, child labor. >> reporter: sam brower is a private investigator who's been looking into allegations of flds child abuse for more than a decade. >> warren jeffs has said, if a child wants to play with a doll, give her a baby. if a boy wants to ride a bicycle, give him a shovel. >> get out of here! >> reporter: driving around the creek, we found children at work everywhere. with shovels, building fences, running heavy equipment. brower says his investigations uncovered flds-organized child labor on an industrial scale at pecan orchards, 20 miles away from the creek. the department of labor sued the parties involved, including the
10:15 pm
million in child labor violations. a hearing is scheduled for this summer. >> there were literally thousands of children in these orchards. and that's the horrible, sad bottom line, that these kids are a commodity and they are used to make money for the church. >> the schools would stop. and we would all load up and go pick pecans. >> reporter: so they would shut down the schools? >> they would shut down the schools. >> reporter: ten years ago, at the age of 17, sick of a life of servitude, joe escapes the church and heads straight to the devil's playground. >> i went to las vegas. i mean, it was sin city. it was awesome. i absolutely loved it. >> reporter: he finds his new freedom to be a revelation, one he wants to share with the family he's left behind. >> i could see how the world was to me. you know, i wasn't hurt. i wasn't possessed. the people out here are not
10:16 pm
they're good people. >> do you want to go? >> she's not going. >> reporter: but after that ugly moment we showed you, sabrina trying to prevent him from rescuing other family members, joe knows it will take something powerful to shake his older sister's faith. bombshell dropped by her husband, jake. >> he wanted to marry my little sister. and she was 14. >> reporter: sabrina's husband wanted to marry -- >> wanted another wife, so -- >> reporter: and he wanted to marry one of her little sisters, who was 14. >> yeah. >> reporter: sabrina's husband is banished by warren jeffs, not because he wanted to bed his wife's 14-year-old sister, but because only the prophet can decide how many wives a man can have. sabrina finds herself on the verge of being transferred into another marriage, perhaps with multiple wives. >> i'm going to be married off. i'll be second wife, third wife, fourth wife, and i'm like, i don't want to be a damn concubine. >> reporter: so, she calls joe and other family members on the
10:17 pm
coming to help you, you ready? >> reporter: they make a midnight run to a meeting spot in the desert outside the creek. 25-year-old sabrina jumps into the car and races away to a new life on the outside. at first, freedom exhilarating. she gets a new hair cut. >> does it look weird? i can't even -- >> reporter: she enjoys partying. >> you all right? >> reporter: but she's also tormented by the fact that her husband's family is insisting on keeping the children. >> and there was nothing i could do at that point, because i didn't dare go up against the church or anything. >> reporter: because the church is so powerful? >> yeah. i never dared go up against it. i wanted to. believe me, i wanted to. i cried myself to sleep many nights, months, even drank myself to death sometimes. >> she would scream. she would cry because she missed
10:18 pm
she would lose her mind, pretty much. and it was sad to see. >> reporter: sabrina is now 33, remarried, with a 3-year-old son. and she has a career as a counselor for troubled youth. she's never lost touch with her first four children, still in the church. however, during a scheduled christmas visitation in 2014, it becomes painfully obvious that her kids view her as an evil outsider here, refusing to accept her christmas presents. >> you're not going to open it? >> no. >> okay, keep going. >> reporter: here, refusing to open her christmas present. they know that christmas, gift giving, toys, they violate flds rules, and mean a one-way ticket to hell. this estrangement becomes one of the big reasons sabrina finally musters the courage to fight for custody. the court order, a sweet
10:19 pm
>> there's no tears. i was too happy to cry. >> reporter: and you got right in the car and went to go get them. >> yeah, we did. >> reporter: which brings us back to the standoff. >> they won't send them out. they won't let me get them. >> reporter: it's now noon. we're 18 hours into this thing. and as the crowd surrounds sabrina's van with video cameras, it is becoming clearer and clearer that her kids are siding with the faithful. that's isaac, right there, the eldest. and this is rulon, the younger boy. and here are daughters saundrah and latisha. >> had to lock the doors. little people are throwing chickens in the van. >> reporter: at one point, the boys even try to put a calf in her van. >> i am so sick of this. this is so uncalled for, so unnecessary. >> reporter: what do you think their fear was? why did they so badly not want to go with you? >> because they've been poisoned against me, because i live out here, i'm an apostate. >> reporter: have they been taught that you're evil? >> uh-huh. they called me the devil a few
10:20 pm
you're going to hell. >> reporter: about 20 hours into the standoff, saundrah, on behalf of her siblings, delivers a handwritten contract, pleading for future trips to the creek. >> sabrina, we will only get in your car if you will sign this paper, saying that we can have visitation with samantha. i'm not going to sign anything. it's on my terms. >> reporter: the war for these flds children is at a stalemate, but across town -- >> they wouldn't open the gate. >> reporter: another mother is fighting a similar battle on another front. >> i'm scared. >> reporter: she was once the queen of the flds castle. now, she's come back, in order to take back her children. >> i don't want my girls to be raped. i don't want any of my boys to have to sit on the side of their bed and watch their wife get raped. i don't want that. >> reporter: when we come back, her allegations of a new,
10:21 pm
plus, is the local government in the pocket of the church? public? we go, uninvited, to the city council for answers. really, nobody wants to respond to that? stay with us. people think it don't make sense that i'm a horse whisperer. fancy prance, yo!! but you know what else don't make sense? bai. i mean it's good for you, but still somehow tastes amazing. sideways fancy prance, ya heard!! yeahhhh. now you can create your own tour of italy at olive garden, starting at $12.99.
10:22 pm
plus unlimited salad and breadsticks. the best tour of italy is the one you create. at olive garden. sears has the largest selection of new serta icomfort and beautyrest mattresses, up to 60% off. plus, free delivery and up to 60 month financing available. he's telling the truth. he is also telling the truth. i told you. dreams matter at sears. the mattress shop. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis like me, and you're talking to your rheumatologist about a biologic... this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain and protect my joints from further damage. this is humira giving me new perspective. doctors have been prescribing humira for ten years. humira works for many adults. it targets and helps to block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to ra symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened,
10:23 pm
serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. talk to your doctor and visit this is humira at work. v/o: the first hug is from you. make sure the second hug feels just as good. huggies gentle absorb liner draws more runny mess away than pampers swaddlers.
10:24 pm
10:25 pm
tt0w!ti"hz! %4@-4=l tt0w!ti"hz! el@->: tt0w!ti"hz! ed@-88d tt0w!ti"hz% )8h-xf8 tt0w!ti"hz% kzh-e)d tt0w!ti"hz% n-h-0@h tt0w!ti"hz% 0ph-.'p tt0w!ti"hz% s"h->u0 tt0w!ti"hz% ueh-=7@ tt0w!ti"hz% 7hh-!54 "20/20" continues with dan harris. >> reporter: what is really going on behind these walls where the leadership of the flds resides? >> it's just not the same anymore. >> reporter: charlene jeffs used to be the queen of this castle, and now she's returning to her old home, wielding information that she says could rock this
10:26 pm
now is 14. that's the age that they like to do things to them. this was just high weeds when i was here. >> reporter: charlene is perhaps the most provocative new combatant in the civil war over flds children. she is trying to get her kids back from none other than lyle jeffs, warren jeffs' brother and reputed top lieutenant, who now resides in this sprawling, walled compound. >> he was always afraid i was going to rock his boat. well, i'm going to capsize it. >> reporter: charlene was the most senior of lyle's nine wives, running a polygamous family with 34 children, until she was banished into exile nearly four years ago. >> i was told i had complained. i didn't know what i had complained about. but i was told that i had complained.
10:27 pm
that his wife is now on the warpath, trying to get her two youngest children back. >> i would say to him, "lyle, you have hurt me more deeply than anyone ever has or ever will. and i will never go back to you, and i want my children now, all of them. no trespassing. so legally i can't be on here, right? >> reporter: he'll find out soon enough, though, because today charlene is outside posting legal notices demanding a hearing in which she can argue for custody of her two youngest children. and the documents contain explosive allegations, detailing her fears for her youngest daughter, suzie. >> suzie, come out and talk to me, okay? open the door so i can see you. and i hope that suzie doesn't get involved in the rituals that's going on. >> reporter: the order accuses the church of a profoundly perverse so-called "seed bearer" ritual, inhich warren jeffs
10:28 pm
select group of his 15 most faithful men be assigned to impregnate the women of the flds with their husbands required to observe the act. >> i don't want my girls to commit adultery and i don't want them to be raped. i want all of them out of there. >> reporter: if true, how could this kind of abuse be lowed to take place here in the creek? because, charlene argues, the local police are in the pocket of the church. this is a claim that many people here in the creek have made to us, so, we go looking for some answers. if we can get anybody to talk to us. curiously, when i show up at the jeffs compound just days after charlene's visit, within minutes, the cops mysteriously materialize. just trying to see if we could talk to lyle jeffs. do you work for him? >> of course not. >> reporter: the allegation is the government here basically reports to the church.
10:29 pm
okay. but this man says otherwise. he may have long hair and a goat ee now but he used to be the clean-cut chief marshal in the creek. in fact, he once swatted our cameras. >> hey, would you mind putting the camera down, okay? would you mind putting the camera down, please? >> reporter: you pushed our camera. >> oh, was that you guys? >> reporter: you remember that? >> i do. >> reporter: after quitting the force, he cut a deal and is now cooperating with the united states justice department in its ongoing trial in arizona. so, too, is charlene, who was called as a witness this month. sabrina also gave a deposition. both of them accuse the city governments of using their enforcement authority for the benefit of the flds church. do the police here protect and serve the people or protect and serve the church primarily? >> my job was to protect the church. reporter: to protect the church. >> yes. >> reporter: what you're describing is a straight-up theocracy? >> yes. absolutely. this community's always been a theocracy. >> reporter: the former chief
10:30 pm
his wife and his friends, all former members. did you live in fear that the prophet could actually take your family away from you? >> oh, yeah. >> oh, yeah. >> absolutely, absolutely. with one phone call. >> yep. >> reporter: so, when you were asked sometimes to do things, is it the case that sometimes you would do things that you fou repulsive because you thought, "if i don't do this, i'll lose my family." >> absolutely. absolutely. >> reporter: we wanted to know what city officials had to say about these charges. so, we went to city hall. hi, my name is dan harris. i'm from abc news. we're looking to see if we can speak to the mayor or the city manager, or the chief of the marshals. >> nobody's in the office right now. just me. >> reporter: just you. okay, where is everybody? >> they're off doing whatever they're doing. >> reporter: town meeting, executive session, 6:30. i know what i'm doing tonight. good evening. my name is dan harris. i'm from abc news. the federal government has sued you, saying you are essentially
10:31 pm
how do you respond to that? >> you have our attorney's phone number. >> reporter: they say that you as an elected body, here in the united states of america, are effectively a wing of the church. one whose prophet is in prison for two counts of sexual assault of a child. you wouldn't want to respond to that? >> our response would be -- needs to be from our attorney. how many of the councilmembers shared the same last names, a sign of how closely related everyone is here in the creek. is anybody here not a member of so, you're all members of flds, right? seriously? nobody will answer the question? >> three minutes is up. thank you.
10:32 pm
controlled by the church. however, charlene jeffs, a believer turned apostate, fully expects discrimination when she arrives at the local marshal's office to ask for help. >> would like to have permission to check on my children. >> reporter: she has the right to conduct what is called a welfare check with her two youngest kids. but she doubts the local cops will assist the lowly wife, taking on the bishop. >> okay. i'd be happy to help you out. >> oh, there we go. >> reporter: to her surprise, the marshals allow her and her lawyer inside and produce her 17-year-old son ahmen and 13-year-old daughter suzie. >> suzie tried to fight on a hug, and i know it's just because of the teachings, and amon just did a handshake. but amon smiled. i felt like it was a more sincere smile. i know that they love me. they were just confused. >> reporter: for the moment, she's reassured that her kids are okay.
10:33 pm
cover of darkness, our cameras capture three large trailers easing out of the prophet's compound -- destination unknown. >> no license plate. >> reporter: could her kids be in those trailers? could charlene have lost her last chance to get her kids back? >> i'm scared. i'm scared of what lyle will do. i know that he will put the children in hiding, so that i will never have any kind of contact with them again. when we come back -- >> i'm going to guess there's about 25 vehicles right here. >> sabrina broadbent facing drastic measures to end a standoff now in its 20th hour. >> they're trying to figure this out with the judge. i'm going to give them permission to get my children and put them in the van. >> reporter: will she finally get her kids back? or leave empty handed and broken
10:34 pm
when "a house divided" returns. man, i'm glad aflac pays cash. aflac! isn't major medical enough? no! who's gonna' help cover the holes in their plans? aflac! like rising co-pays and deductibles... aflac! or help pay the mortgage? or child care? aflaaac! and everyday expenses? aflac! learn about one day pay at blurlbrlblrlbr!!! announcement: this storm promises to be the biggest of the decade. with total accumulation of up to three feet. roads will be shut down indefinitely. and schools are closed. campbell's soups go great with a cold and a nice red. made for real, real life. sfx: ziploc bag opening sfx: ambient school cafeteria sounds, children talking life doesn't cry over spilled milk. it cheers.
10:35 pm
sc johnson there's no one i'd rather... hit the road with. no one i'd rather have dinner and a movie with. no one i'd rather lean on. being in love is an amazing thing. being in love with your best friend... everything. introducing the ever us two-stone ring. one diamond for your best friend... one for your true love. for the one woman in your life who's both. ever us. new this valentine's day at jared, kay and zale's. everyone's lookin' red carpet ready. my man, lemme guess who you're wearing... toenail fungus!? whaaat?!? fight it! with jublia. jublia is a prescription medicine... ...used to treat toenail fungus. use jublia as instructed by your doctor. jublia is workin' it! most common side effects include... ...ingrown toenail,application site redness,... ...itching, swelling, burning... ...or stinging, blisters, and pain. oh!! fight it! with jublia! now that's a red carpet moment! ask your doctor if jublia is right for you.
10:36 pm
10:38 pm
tt2w`t0l@qd; bt`n'u< tt2w`t0l@qd; "a`n7yx tt2w`t0l@qd; bm`n
10:39 pm
the county sheriffs, who are not accused of being beholden to the church. and now she tells them, it's time to use force, if necessary, to end this thing. >> what's going on with the cops? they're talking on the phone. what's going on? >> they're trying to figure this out with the judge. the protection order or this pickup order. i'm going to give them permission to take my children and put them in the van. so, here it goes. i am sick of this. >> reporter: as if on cue, the flds women react. >> i started seeing them bring their suitcases out. i'm like, okay, here we go. here we go. 50 people trying to help the kids out. and the cop, one of the deputies, went up and says, this is your last chance. >> we'll be down the road. >> reporter: finally, escorted by their flds keepers, the children walk towards sabrina's van, crying. that's her older boy isaac there, isaac, covering his face. it seems like things might be family. but wait. out of the blue, the tide turns.
10:40 pm
upon the mouth of the van. it's a sea of prairie dresses and up-dos. >> they're like, "we're not forcing the children. they have to do it on their own." but they're so brainwashed that they wouldn't even step in the van. >> reporter: sabrina's brother, joe, who's gotten so many of his family members out of the church, was right there. >> they're saying you, you know, "you're leaving with the devil." >> reporter: people in the crowd are weeping, praying. they begin singing an flds hymn. god delights to own and bless you, if you strive to do what's right >> reporter: these people have no questions about their prophet even though he's in prison for sexually -- >> oh, that's a that's a big test for them. he's like, "the only way that i'm not out is because you're not faithful enough. he puts so much pressure on the people. they're fasting. they don't eat for three days at a time. and they pray and pray and pray
10:41 pm
prison. >> reporter: for a moment, sabrina wavers. >> we were going on two hours sleep. i couldn't eat. they're like, well, we can come back tomorrow. i'm like, no, we're doing this today. this is happening today. >> reporter: the sheriffs are slow to act here, because they say they're worried this tense scene could explode into mob violence. but finally, a sheriff's deputy pokes his head around the corner of the van and says, "time to go." >> okay, folks, they've got to get going. >> reporter: at long last, the kids get in. the van pulls away with the followers of warren jeffs waving and weeping. the arduous extraction of sabrina's children is an inspiration to other ex-flds members, like ron rohbock. ron was banished from the church in 2002, and all of his seven wives and 50 children were
10:42 pm
including his then 4-year-old daughter, sherilyn, pictured here with warren jeffs. then, one day, a strange call from the fbi puts him in the middle of his own harrowing custody dispute. a tipster had directed the agents to this trailer, where sherylin was being housed in shocking conditions. >> she didn't have running water to the trailer. they brought her food once a week in a box this big. >> and then she had one other number that she had to call every 15 minutes. the brainwashing was so constant. >> reporter: and this was punishment from the family with whom she was living at the time? >> exactly. >> reporter: the fbi has taken sherilyn into custody. >> just know that they're thinking about you. >> reporter: now ron, and his new wife, geri, decide to bring his daughter into their home. >> she was a little distant, but it was a very short period of
10:43 pm
through my arms. >> reporter: on the advice of a lawyer, the rohbocks and sherilyn leave the creek and go into hiding, a secret seven-day road trip to california, to buy some time for the judge to grant the rohbocks legal custody. >> we got down to santa monica and we got a room. and we walked over to bubba gump's. you can see in the picture, she was smiling. >> she lit up. >> she was having fun. >> reporter: she had been taught since birth that the outside world was evil. >> oh, yeah. >> reporter: and here you were demonstrating -- >> it wasn't. it was fun. >> reporter: for the rohbocks, these first baby steps toward a new family life for sherilyn seemed to be going well. and for charlene jeffs, a surprise phone call of her own. >> my husband called me and said, "hey, let's settle this out of court." >> reporter: her husband, lyle jeffs, agreed to a secret meeting, and reluctantly gives up custody.
10:44 pm
papers, so that i can get my two underaged children. >> reporter: the judge orders the handoff that day. charlene invites us to document the transfer from a distance with a sheriff, a marshal and church security right there to make sure it all goes smoothly. the kids refuse to get out of the white car they're in, but they do agree to follow their mom to their new home outside of the creek. >> it was a hope. it was a risk in losing them altogether. i had to just rely on faith and prayers. >> reporter: so, here we are. charlene jeffs, flds royalty breaking free. sabrina broadbent, through sheer determination. and ron rohbock, all now reunited with their children. but will it last? >> the truck door opened up and they grabbed her and pulled her in and she was gone. >> i'm scared. >> it was a nightmare, when we got home. >> reporter: what do you mean? can she turn this ordeal into a
10:45 pm
when we come back. (flourish spray noise) (flourish spray noises) (school bell) (flourish spray noise) share the joy of real cream... share the joy of real cream... (flourish spray noise) ...with reddi-wip. check this out, bro. what's that, broheim? i switched to geico and got more. more savings on car insurance? yeah bro-fessor, and more. like renters insurance. more ways to save. nice, bro-tato chip. that's not all, bro-tein shake. geico has motorcycle and rv insurance, too. oh, that's a lot more. oh yeah, i'm all about more, teddy brosevelt.
10:46 pm
we live in a pick and choose world. choose, choose, choose. but at bedtime... ...why settle for this? enter sleep number and the ultimate sleep number event, going on now. sleepiq technology tells you how well you slept and what adjustments you can make. you like the bed soft. he's more hardcore. so your sleep goes from good to great to wow! only at a sleep number store, right now save 50% on the ultimate limited edition bed, plus 24-month financing. hurry, ends monday. know better sleep
10:47 pm
10:49 pm
we return to "20/20." >> reporter: after a 22-hour standoff, sabrina broadbent departs the creek with her children, enjoying a moment of personal triumph. >> ul i wanted to do was get the hell out of there, that's all i wanted to do. >> reporter: but it's only a moment. as soon as they drive away from the standoff and head up highway 59 through the red rock mesas
10:50 pm
southern utah, the road gets rocky. how were the kids when they got in the van? >> they were all crying. and my youngest was pulling my hair and throwing things at my head and stuff, but i went back there and just nuzzled up to them and looked at them like they were my friends. like, here i am. >> reporter: how did they react to that? >> after about a half an hour, they all fell asleep. but it was a nightmare when we got home. >> reporter: what do you mean? >> my eldest took a magic marker to my 60-inch screen tv that we just got and cut all the cords to the tv, to the dish. >> reporter: these kids were raised in a world where they were told that the outside is evil. and here you come, pulling them into the outside. >> right. >> reporter: at one point, they packed up their stuff? >> they did. and they sat out on my front suitcases? >> with their suitcases. and they cried. it was dang hard for me to see that. ah!
10:51 pm
>> reporter: undaunted, sabrina is determined to reconnect and catch up on lost time with her kids, far away from the flds. >> pull! >> reporter: so, she is filling their days with the kind of fun the prophet warren jeffs would never allow. skeet shooting, hiking, fishing and four-wheeling. >> ru. could you drive this? >> i'm going to. >> you're going to? oh, good. they've come alive the last couple of days. we've been going out doing and activities with them and involving them and stuff, and they love it. >> reporter: aided and abetted by the purchase of a new puppy and, of course, lots of maternal patience and love, sabrina's children seem to be coming around. >> only have the automatic ones. >> reporter: so, here we are, a couple weeks later. how are they doing now? >> they're doing great. last night was the first time they watched tv. >> reporter: ever? >> the first time in their life. >> reporter: i don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. >> well, it's good stuff. it's like the old disney movies
10:52 pm
>> reporter: it's like they're catching up on childhood. >> yes. >> reporter: to ease the transition, sabrina is letting the girls wear their prairie dresses until they decide to change on their own. >> and i'm not going to force them to do anything, like their hair, the way they comb their hair, their dresses. everything is happening so fast. >> reporter: on another highway, crossing a different desert, ron and geri rohbock head home to the creek, after five seemingly happy days in california with ron's daughter. but ron and geri notice something odd in sherilyn's behavior. >> she was writing in shorthand. >> reporter: indecipherable scribbles in a kind of cryptic journal. and as they approach the nevada border town of mesquite -- >> she said to me, "oh, we're not stopping in mesquite?" why was she so concerned about not stopping in mesquite? >> so at sherilyn's insistence, they pull off the freeway and drive into this
10:53 pm
>> sherilyn's sitting in the vehicle. she didn't want to get out. so, i walked around to her side of the car, and at that very minute, the truck pulls up. she jumps out of the -- they grab her, she's in the truck and they're gone. i mean, it happened like clockwork. >> reporter: the rohbocks say they have no doubt that sherilyn somehow tipped off the flds and helped set up this brazen snatch-back. so, where is your daughter now? >> i have no idea. >> my personal belief is that she's right over here in lyle's complex. i helped build that property. you know how many secret hiding places there are in that place? they've got caverns within caverns in there. >> reporter: the resistance and resources of the remaining flds hardcore membership raises some disturbing questions. could they resort to violence as the leadership of this outlaw church loses its grip? >> the people who are left following him are following a madman who, i don't believe, has any hesitation at all, in leading these people out in a blaze of glory.
10:54 pm
that there may be another jonestown or another waco. >> reporter: ron rohbock, who says he lost a golden opportunity to rescue his daughter from a grim future, still takes an optimistic view of the changes he sees taking place here. an influx of non-flds members, the reopening of the local public school, even a fast food restaurant. so, where is this situation heading? >> as far as i am concerned, given ten years, it's going to normalize to some degree. >> reporter: charlene jeffs, now divorced from lyle, is simply grateful for the chance to bring her children to the outside, even though their transition, too, has been bumpy. on the first day of her daughter's freedom, charlene sent us this home video. that's her daughter suzie, no longer in danger of being subjected to the alleged seed bearer ceremony, but avoiding the camera and closing the door on her mom.
10:55 pm
still love you anyway. >> reporter: at sabrina's home, there are bold, new beginnings. like the first day of school -- ever. for all of her children. and after three months together, the prairie dresses and judgemental scowls have vanished, replaced with cowboy hats and pierced ears. these are the moments she celebrates now, like the first time sabrina was called mom. her first child to do so was latisha. >> it didn't register because i wasn't used to her calling me that, and i turned around and she had a big smile on her face and she was like, thank you. >> reporter: a family united, at last. >> every time i went somewhere, expressed, i wish they were here seeing this, i wish they were
10:56 pm
and now they are. see me. see me. don't stare at me. see me. see me. see me to know that psoriasis is just something that i have. i'm not contagious. see me to know that i won't stop. until i find what works. discover cosentyx, a different kind of medicine for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. proven to help the majority of people find clear or almost clear skin. 8 out of 10 people saw 75% skin clearance at 3 months. while the majority saw 90% clearance. do not use if you are allergic to cosentyx. before starting, you should be tested for tuberculosis. an increased risk of infections and lowered ability to fight them may occur. tell your doctor if you have an infection or symptoms... ...such as fever, sweats, chills, muscle aches or cough. or if you have received a vaccine or plan to. if you have crohn's disease, tell your doctor as symptoms can worsen. serious allergic reactions may occur. see me. see me. see me on my way. find clear skin and a clearer path forward.
10:57 pm
ask your dermatologist about cosentyx. sears has the largest selection of new serta icomfort and beautyrest mattresses, up to 60% off. a plus, free delivery and up to 60 month financing available. he's telling the truth. he is also telling the truth. i told you. dreams matter at sears. the mattress shop. good morning sunset. good morning night. good morning neon, shining bright. good morning hunger. good morning moon. good morning morning.
10:58 pm
before we say good night, >> ready? >> yes. >> a thumb's up, thanking you for helping "20/20" reach a million likes on facebook. at "20/"? we're doing it right now. >> we like working hard to brick >> i never heard you so silent. >> most amazing. wolfpack, meet robert de niro. >> provocative stories. >> going to be a roller coaster. >> we're thrilled to say you liked it with a million likes on facebook. >> we like "20/20"! >> and so, let us say, to all of you -- thank you. >> and trust us when we say, we like you, too. >> we look forward to seeing you right here on friday nights. >> and connecting any time on facebook. >> thanks a million! >> thank you so much, and keep liking us. i'm elizabeth vargas. >> i like you. and i'm david muir. for all of us at "20/20" and abc
10:59 pm
good night.loved... and most controversial supreme court justices - antonin scalia - found dead at a texas resort. and - sharp tongues at tonight's republican debate - as the candidates switch up thier strategies and go on the offensive good evening, i'm kendra kostelecky. thanks for joining us here tonight. tonight's g-o-p presidential debate.... jolted by the sudden
11:00 pm
justice antonin scalia. on top of that news... the debate... now dwindled down to six republican presidential candidates... comes exactly one week before south carolina voters head to the polls in the first southern primary of the 2016 election season. melisa raney reports. tonight's g-o-p presidential debate.... jolted by the sudden death of supreme court justice antonin scalia. on top of that news... the debate... now dwindled down to six republican presidential candidates... comes exactly one week before south carolina voters head to the polls in the first southern primary of the 2016 election season. melisa raney reports. --reporter pkg-as follows-- a change in tone saturday night as the remaining republican presidential candidates took the debate stage in greenville, south carolina. following a moment of silence for the late justice scalia... the candidates were asked


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on