Jailed Polygamist Leader Jeffs Hospitalized

Hospital and law enforcement officials remain tight-lipped about the condition of Warren Jeffs, the jailed president and prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), the nation's largest polygamist group.

Jeffs was flown to a Las Vegas hospital Tuesday from Kingman, Ariz., where he was awaiting trial on charges of facilitating sexual misconduct with minors. He was being held at the Mohave County jail and, after appearing ill, was sent to the Kingman Medical Center. Doctors there said he needed care they couldn't provide.

The 52-year-old "was in stable condition when he was transferred" to Las Vegas, said Jamie Taylor, the Kingman hospital's spokeswoman.

Jeffs "appeared to be lethargic and in a weakened state of health" on Tuesday, said Trish Carter, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office. Guards and medical staff at the county jail had noted Jeffs was feverish and "acting in a convulsive manner – shaking," Carter said.

He was flown to Las Vegas for medical reasons and not because of any security concerns, Carter added.

The Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas wouldn't confirm that Jeffs is a patient, but the Kingman hospital, the sheriff's office and the Las Vegas Police Department said he was there. Jeffs is being guarded by armed Mohave County deputies, Carter said. Neither she nor the hospitals could or would provide any information about Jeffs' condition.

NPR's calls to Jeffs' attorneys were not returned. FLDS spokesman Rod Parker said he had no information about Jeffs' medical problem or status.

Jeffs is probably the world's most famous polygamist. Alleged practices associated with his FLDS faith prompted a child welfare raid at the group's Texas ranch and temple in April. About 6,000 followers live in twin communities on the Utah-Arizona border.

Jeffs was convicted in Utah last year of being an accomplice to rape. He's serving consecutive sentences of five years to life.

An Arizona grand jury indicted Jeffs on multiple counts of facilitating incest and sexual misconduct with minors. The incest charges later were dropped.

Both the Utah and Arizona cases involve an alleged FLDS practice of pairing underage girls with older men. Jeffs is accused of presiding over these so-called "spiritual marriages"and facilitating the sexual conduct that followed. After the raid in Texas, an FLDS spokesman indicated underage marriages would be discontinued.

Jeffs has been jailed in either Arizona or Utah since his arrest nearly two years ago. He had been a fugitive and placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list.

Jeffs was hospitalized briefly during his incarceration in Utah. Court documents say he attempted suicide in his Utah jail cell. During court appearances in Utah, Jeffs at times appeared gaunt, weak and unsteady. Mohave County jail authorities placed him on a medical and suicide watch when he arrived in Arizona in February.

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