SAN ANGELO, Texas — Texas child welfare authorities admitted Monday there are more children and mothers inside the San Angelo Coliseum than they originally believed.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said Monday there are 437 children being held at the makeshift shelter — not 416 children as they have reported since April 8 when they announced that number and said they had removed all the children from the YFZ Ranch of the Fundamentalist FLDS Church.

"You can imagine with these many people and different locations, it was hard to get an exact count," said Shari Pulliam, spokeswoman for the department. "We finally think we've got a count."

Pulliam defended the miscount, saying there were many instances where they would be told a different name and different birth date every time they asked, and in some cases, information was not accurate. A head count was made more difficult because so many people were doing different things at different times.

"You've got mothers with babies in cots, but not everybody's laying down at the exact same time. Some are in the restroom at times when you're counting, some people are in the shower. There's a lot of different things going on at the same time," she said.

It was even more confusing when some of the children and women were housed at Fort Concho, but counting has been easier since they have all been moved to a shelter inside the coliseum, Pulliam said.

Ninety-five FLDS women are also at the shelter. They are being allowed to remain with their children 4 years and younger until the state locates proper foster families and foster homes for the children.

A judge ordered that the 437 children be removed from the ranch and placed into state custody as part of an investigation of sexual and physical abuse.


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