SAN ANGELO (CN) – A Texas judge ordered more than 460 children seized from a polygamist sect’s ranch be returned to their parents, following the state Supreme Court’s ruling last week that the state had acted on insufficient evidence in removing the children from the Eldorado compound.
Judge Barbara Walther ordered the state to begin releasing the 468 children from their custody as of 10 a.m. central time on Monday, and between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. each subsequent day, until all children are reunited with their families on the Yearning for Zion ranch operated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The children were seized after a 16-year-old girl called the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and claimed she was being physically and sexually abused. State investigators claimed the polygamist sect’s practice of marrying younger women and girls to older men fostered pedophilia.
The state high court backed an appellate court’s ruling that the department lacked the evidence warranting the children’s removal from their families.