15 year old Caroline Cooke ran away from
her polygamous home in April, 2001. Her father had once fled
Utah because he was under investigation for incest stemming
from his marriage to his stepdaughter. When another
step-daughter was 15 she asked to be married to anyone in
the Canadian polygamous colony to avoid marriage to her step
father. Now 15 year old Caroline was faced with the prospect
of being married to 45 year old Warren Jeffs, son of, and
heir apparent to, FLDS prophet Rulon Jeffs. Caroline decided
to run away instead.
She received help from child welfare
activists Jay Beswick and Les Zitting. While she was staying
with Les’s family, Les received an anonymous death threat.
When he called the police about the death threat, Washington
County Utah sheriff Kirk Smith took control of Caroline’s
The activists were able to get an uncle
of Caroline’s, who is not a polygamist, to file for a power
of attorney and take custody of Caroline. She is living with
the uncle’s family now and is attending school. Caroline's
prospects for achieving a normal life are bright.