COLORADO SPRINGS A court hearing was delayed at the last-minute for the woman considered a "person of interest" in the phone call that sparked the massive raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch.
Rozita Swinton, 33, was scheduled to appear in an El Paso County courtroom on Friday for a pre-trial hearing on a misdemeanor charge of making a false report to police. The hearing was postponed at the request of her defense attorney.
"He asked for a continuance due to the amount of discovery in this case," said prosecutor Frederick Stein. "I did not object to the defense request because the discovery is very lengthy."
Swinton's next court appearance is scheduled for July 9.
She is accused in a local case of a phony abuse call where she pretended to be a girl named "Dana," who claimed to have been locked in a basement, drugged and sexually abused by her father. The call had dozens of Colorado Springs police officers going door-to-door through a neighborhood, searching for the girl.
Swinton is being investigated for the call that triggered the raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, in April. Police have said in arrest warrant affidavits that cell phone numbers used by Swinton have been linked to calls to family crisis shelters in Texas and Washington by a 16-year-old girl named "Sarah." Similar calls were made to child welfare authorities in Arizona and Utah.
"Sarah" claimed she was living on the YFZ Ranch and was pregnant and in an abusive marriage to a man named Dale Evans Barlow. Child welfare authorities and law enforcement responded to the ranch to investigate.
It was then, Texas authorities said, they saw signs of other abuse on the YFZ Ranch. That prompted a judge to order all of the children removed from the property. All 440 children were returned to their parents this week after the Texas Supreme Court and Austin's 3rd Court of Appeals ruled the state acted improperly in removing everyone.
Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran was in contact with Dale Evans Barlow, who was in Colorado City, Ariz. Doran said in a recent interview with the Deseret News that he could not immediately verify where Barlow was.
Even as the raid was being conducted, "Sarah" kept calling. Texas Rangers eventually questioned Dale Barlow but did not arrest him.
When police arrested Swinton, they seized boxes of evidence from her apartment. Some of that evidence is in the hands of Texas Rangers, who were present for Swinton's arrest in Colorado Springs. Texas authorities have said the evidence seized suggests a connection between Swinton and the calls regarding the FLDS, but have declined to say when they will be turning over their case to prosecutors.
"The Texas Rangers are continuing their investigation," Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange said Friday.
Swinton's foster mother has said in a pair of books that she suffers from a multiple personality disorder and was a child sex abuse victim.
Swinton was convicted in a 2005 case in Castle Rock, Colo., where she claimed to be a 16-year-old girl named "Jessica," who planned to abandon her baby and commit suicide. Authorities have also investigated hoax calls about abused girls named "Jennifer," "April" and "V."The Utah Attorney General's Office said it is still investigating a similar call of abuse made to Division of Child and Family Services caseworkers in St. George. A DCFS spokeswoman has said the call may be related on the ongoing criminal matter in Texas.
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