Image: Warren Jeffs
Douglas C. Pizac  /  Pool via Getty Images FILE
Warren Jeffs, the head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was hospitalized.
updated 7/9/2008 11:50:01 PM ET 2008-07-10T03:50:01

Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was released from a Nevada hospital Wednesday, a day after he was found "convulsive," weak and feverish in an Arizona jail cell, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.

The 52-year-old leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was released around 5 p.m., police Officer Jose Montoya said. He said he did not know where Jeffs was transported to.

Calls to the Mohave County Sheriff's Department, which had custody of Jeffs, were not immediately returned.

Earlier Wednesday, a sheriff's spokeswoman said Jeffs was conscious but in a "weakened state of health, acting in a convulsive manner, shaking, and running a fever" when he was found Tuesday his solo jail cell in Kingman, Ariz.

That prompted jailers to move Jeffs from the Mohave County Jail to Kingman Regional Medical Center. He was then flown about 100 miles to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas.

"We're not told what his diagnosis is," spokeswoman Trish Carter said of Jeffs. "But based on our observations from jail staff, it does not appear to be life-threatening."

Under heavy guard
During his hospitalization, Jeffs was under heavy guard while being treated in Las Vegas for an unknown medical condition, the Police Department said in a statement.

Jeffs' Arizona lawyer, Mike Piccarreta of Tucson, acknowledged that Jeffs was hospitalized but refused to say why.

"I really don't want to comment on his personal medical condition," Piccarreta said. "I think anyone that was being incarcerated as a result of persecution for his religious beliefs would not be in good health."

Jeffs has been in custody since his August 2006 arrest outside Las Vegas. He had been on the run for more than a year, and made the FBI's Most Wanted List before his capture.

Lost 30 pounds in jail
Utah court documents show that Jeffs lost 30 pounds in jail awaiting trial in St. George, Utah, and that he was hospitalized for treatment of a self-imposed fast, dehydration and sleep deprivation.

A clinical social worker who interviewed Jeffs in April 2007 reported that Jeffs attempted to hang himself in January 2007 at the Washington County jail, and was seen several days later throwing himself against walls and banging his head.

Jeffs was convicted by a Utah jury last year of two counts of first-degree felony rape as an accomplice. He was sentenced to two consecutive terms of five years to life in prison for his role in the 2001 marriage of a 14-year-old follower to her 19-year-old cousin.

Records show that Jeffs was treated in a Utah prison infirmary in February 2007 for health problems attributed to refusing to eat. A year later, Utah authorities say, the 6-foot-3 Jeffs weighed 145 pounds when he was moved to Arizona.

Carter said she did not immediately know how much Jeffs weighed when he was hospitalized Tuesday.

"Our job is to ensure he's in good health and ready to go to trial," Carter said. "If he has any medical conditions, we are going to have deputies and detention officers make sure he's safe and healthy."

Charges involve sex with minor
Jeffs is charged in Arizona as an accomplice with four counts of sexual conduct with a minor stemming from the marriages he allegedly arranged between underage girls and older men.

He also had been charged with four counts of incest as an accomplice, but those charges were dropped last month after Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steven Conn found Arizona's incest law does not apply to the arranged marriages of teenage girls and their older male relatives.

Carter said Jeffs has been jailed in protective custody — alone in his cell 23 hours a day, and allowed one hour of recreation segregated from other inmates.

Jeffs was named in 2002 as the president, or prophet, of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, an insular sect with nearly 6,000 followers that practices polygamy in arranged marriages that have sometimes involved underage girls.

Many FLDS members live in the twin border towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, about 160 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Another FLDS ranch was raided in west Texas in April, setting off a lengthy legal battle over the custody of hundreds of children.  

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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