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Sect leader's followers blocked officers' path into Eldorado temple

SAN ANGELO - As authorities prepared to enter the temple of the YFZ Ranch Saturday night, the polygamous followers of Warren Jeffs lined themselves around the building's perimeter to block the path of officers.

But Texas Rangers Capt. Barry Caver said Thursday that only one follower of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) offered resistance.

"They line up 57 people around the temple," Caver said. "We didn't see any firearms."

Once they got past the resistors, Caver brought in a locksmith to successfully unlock a gate but could not pry open the doors to the temple at the YFZ (Yearn for Zion) Ranch.

They unsuccessfully used the jaws-of-life but Caver wouldn't say how they eventually breached the doors.

Once inside the gleaming white structure that towers over the compound, investigators found "multiple locked safes, locked desk drawers, locked vaults, as well as multiple computers and beds," court documents said.

Caver declined to go into detail on search warrants released Wednesday that said beds were inside the temple where young girls were forced to have sex after getting married in the temple. Caver did say the room with the beds was at "the top" of the temple.

An affidavit released Wednesday said the temple was used by husbands when they had sex for the first time with their new underage wives. The search- and arrest-warrant affidavit said males over 17 engaged in sexual activity with females under 17 in the area with the bed.

On Saturday, investigators found "disturbed bed linens and a strand of hair that appears to be from a female head," the affidavit stated.

Investigators also found documents inside the temple that showed one man at the compound had 20 wives living in the same residence, the affidavit said.

The affidavit, signed by Department of Public Safety investigator Leslie Brooks, said evidence was found inside the temple that the men would force the young girls to have sex "at the initial time of marriage."

Since the start of the massive raid Thursday, Texas officials have taken legal temporary custody of 416 children at the ranch about 4 miles outside of Eldorado. And 133 adult women have voluntarily left the compound to be with the children at several hastily arranged facilities in San Angelo, about 45 miles from Eldorado. CPS officials said they plan to eventually place all of the children in foster homes. The women and children are being interviewed and cared for by 700 workers from CPS and other state agencies, officials have said.

Investigators have refused to reveal how many men are being detained at the ranch.

The 16-year-old girl who triggered the raid has still not been located, officials said. She had made calls on a borrowed cellphone to a local family violence shelter and alleged sexual abuse by her 50-year-old "spiritual husband."

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