Polygamy kidnapping suspect waives extradition to Utah

Posted at 12:27 PM, February 14, 2023 and last updated 3:40 PM, July 24, 2023

By: Ben Winslow

SALT LAKE CITY (KSTU) — The nephew of imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs has waived extradition to Utah to face child kidnapping charges.

Heber Jeffs, 54, appeared before a judge in Minot, N.D., on Monday after being arrested on a warrant out of Utah. He agreed to be returned to the state to face a first-degree felony kidnapping charge.

Heber Jeffs mugshot

This undated mugshot provided by the Ward County Sheriff’s Office shows kidnapping suspect Heber Jeffs, who is also the nephew of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs. (Ward County Sheriff’s Office)

Jeffs is accused of fleeing Utah with a 10-year-old girl whom he was caring for, but did not have custody of. When her mother sought to take the girl, prosecutors wrote in charging documents that Jeffs told her she needed to return to the Fundamentalist LDS Church and communicate with Warren Jeffs.

Over the weekend, the girl was found safe and her father told KSTU on Sunday that she will be reunited with her mother soon.

Last year, Warren Jeffs had reportedly begun reasserting control over the FLDS Church from inside his Texas prison cell where he is serving a life sentence for child sexual assault. The polygamist leader has called for people ousted from his Utah-based church to return, while continuing to divide families and cast others out.

Heber Jeffs will be returned to Utah sometime in the next couple of weeks, where he will face charges in Piute County.

This story was originally published Feb. 13 by KSTU in Salt Lake City, an E.W. Scripps Company.