CONVERSE, Texas — An agreement to hand off a teenage girl to Texas child protective services became a cat-and-mouse game with reporters and photographers Tuesday evening.

The girl initially was to be handed over by her mother, Barbara Jessop, to CPS workers at 7 p.m. at their home in Converse near San Antonio.

That plan was quickly changed by CPS and CASA representatives when they heard the media would be there to document the event, said FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop.

"Barbara was told that if the media was there and took photos, there would be consequences," Jessop said. "The government threatened her with retaliation against her family if the media was there."

Jessop said the threat included pursuing custody of Jessop's 11-year-old son, who the judge had just agreed should remain in his mother's custody.

When reporters and photographers arrived at Jessop's home shortly before the scheduled 7 p.m. hand-off, other FLDS women living nearby said the pair were already gone. None of the women, teenage girls and younger children said they saw the girl leave with her mother.

A message left with Barbara Jessop's attorney was not immediately returned.

"The last time the media exposed how CPS was treating the FLDS people, the government took away everyone's cell phones," said Willie Jessop. "This time, they threatened Barbara with taking away her son.

"None of this was justified the first time they did it and it's not justified now," he said.

CPS spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner was unaware of any threats. "If that's true, I haven't heard about it," she said. Meisner confirmed the girl was in state custody and was taken to a foster home.


E-mail: nperkins@desnews.com