Five members of a radical polygamist group wanted for questioning in four Texas slayings in June were in the custody of federal authorities in Chicago, police say.
Investigators from Houston, Salt Lake City and Dallas County already have traveled to Chicago to question the cult members. A sixth member of the cult in custody in Gwinnett County, Ga., also has been questioned, authorities said Thursday.The arrests in Chicago gave Houston police their first opportunity to question Aaron LeBaron, 20, a suspect in the killings here who has been at large since two men and a young girl were gunned down June 27.
Sgts. John Burmester and Fred Carrol, who returned from Chicago Wednesday night, spent several days questioning the five but were unwilling to discuss what information they gained.
The five were stopped in a Chicago suburb Feb. 14 after they aroused the suspicion of immigration authorities when they were spotted traveling in two or three cars with five Hispanic children, investigators said. The children all turned out to be Mexican nationals.
Natasha Thelma LeBaron was arrested in Georgia for having a false identification card, investigators said.
Those being held in Chicago's Federal Metro Detention Center on investigation of immigration law violations include Linda Johnson, Norma LeBaron, Patricia LeBaron and Andrea Monique LeBaron, an investigator said.
Houston investigators said they want to bring the five back to Houston for further questioning in the slayings here of Mark Chynoweth, 36; his brother, Duane Chynoweth, 31, and Duane's daughter, Jennifer, 8.
However, police said, they have no legal means at the moment of bringing them to Texas.
"A lot will depend on what happens with the federal charges there," an investigator said.
Eddie Marston, 32, was gunned down in Irving at about the same time. All four victims were former members of the LeBaron cult.
The cult was founded by the late Ervil LeBaron, a polygamist who abandoned the LDS Church to form his own group - based on the doctrine of "blood atonement" - in southeast Sonora, Mexico.
Law enforcement officials believe members of Ervil LeBaron's group, the Church of the Lamb of God, are responsible for killing at least 22 current or former members over the past two decades.
Natasha LeBaron and Linda Johnson are wanted on federal witness warrants in the Oct. 16, 1987, slaying of Daniel Ben Jordan, 53, who was shot while hunting deer near Manti, Utah.
Aaron, 20, a son of Ervil LeBaron, has been sought for questioning in the June slayings here and in the Irving killing.
Linda Johnson was reportedly one of Ervil LeBaron's 12 wives. Natasha LeBaron is one of Ervil LeBaron's daughters, believed still to have ties to the clan, authorities said.