A self-described “prophet” of his own radical splinter sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is in custody and facing federal and local charges after police said he endangered the lives of children by towing them inside a squalid trailer.

Back on August 28, a state trooper in northern Arizona noticed that an SUV with a trailer had pulled off to the side of I-40. When he took a closer look, the trooper said he saw “children’s small fingers moving in the gap of the rear trailer door,” a sign that the driver of the SUV was hauling the trailer with young children inside.

When the trooper investigated further, he discovered that the trailer was, indeed, “full of people including children.” The trailer also contained a couch, various personal items, and a makeshift toilet from a bucket, but no windows or air vents, the trooper alleged.


Fox 10 Phoenix reported that area temperatures soared to 106 degrees that day. In all, there were three girls between the ages of 11 and 14 in the trailer and two more under 15 in the SUV. There were also two adult women in the SUV.

The trooper arrested the driver, 46-year-old Samuel Rappylee Bateman, who claims to lead a splinter FLDS group in Colorado City, Arizona, where he lives. Bateman was booked in the Coconino County Jail in Flagstaff on three counts of child abuse and released. (SOURCE)