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'Person of interest' in FLDS case waives hearing

Published: Tuesday, July 7 2015 10:21 a.m. MDT

Rozita Swinton () Rozita Swinton ()
A Colorado woman considered a "person of interest" in the phone calls for help that sparked the raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch will skip her arraignment in a separate case.
Rozita Swinton's scheduled Thursday arraignment on a misdemeanor charge of false reporting was vacated, according to court records. Instead, she retained an attorney on Monday, and a pretrial conference was scheduled for June 6.
Swinton, 33, is accused in this case of making a series of calls to authorities in Colorado Springs, claiming to be a little girl locked in a basement. It prompted a door-to-door search by police. When Swinton was arrested earlier this month, Texas Rangers were there and seized evidence from her home they said has a possible connection to phone calls involving FLDS compounds in Colorado City, Ariz., and Eldorado, Texas.
An arrest warrant affidavit obtained by the Deseret News said investigators believe cell phone numbers belonging to Swinton matched those that were made to shelters in numerous states. In those calls, a 16-year-old girl identifying herself as "Sarah" claimed to be pregnant and abused by her husband, Dale Barlow.
Even after the raid that resulted in 462 children being placed in state protective custody, the affidavit said "Sarah" continued to make phone calls. Texas Rangers questioned a Dale Barlow, 50, in St. George earlier this month but did not arrest him.
Colorado authorities allege Swinton has perpetuated numerous hoax abuse calls over the past several years. She was convicted in connection with a 2005 hoax call where she pretended to be a teenage mother who sought to abandon a baby and then kill herself. Attempts to reach Swinton for comment have been unsuccessful.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said it continues to sift through evidence seized from Swinton's apartment. Authorities insist that even if the original call that sparked the raid was a hoax, it would not affect the outcome of the case because of what Texas child protective services workers found once they went onto the YFZ Ranch.


E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com

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