Lifestyle - Only Girl Alive

Years ago I wrote one of the top cop blogs in the country. It won numerous awards and helped relieve stress from my job. This new blog talks about cult horrors and the endless research I've done on the fundamental polygamist Mormons and gives inside info on the Eve Bennet crime thriller series. Thank you for joining me.

FLDS Cult: Punishment for Women

As with Only Girl Alive, Lost Little Angels has many threads of truth. The idea for the series began when I read about a federal judge ordering oversight for law enforcement in the Hildale, Utah area due to decades of corruption. I knew what book 2 would be about when I read a true account of a woman who escaped the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter-day Saint) community. Before she managed to escape, she was held in a small travel trailer with very little food and water and only a cell phone. She had to check in every fifteen minutes or she was punished by withholding the food and water. This was known as isolation. Because of the absolute control since infancy, she didn’t know another phone number to call only that 911 connected her with the corrupt policemen who also belonged to the cult. The seed for Lost Little Angels was planted in my brain and it grew from there.

purchased via Deposit Photo credit to SlezakPatrik

Old travel trailer photo, purchased via Deposit Photo credit to SlezakPatrik

In book 1, Detective Sergeant Eve Bennet’s mother disappeared from her life when Eve was a child, leaving her in the hands of fundamentalist monsters. Eve often wondered why it took four years for her mother to rescue her but her mother refused to speak of it. In Lost Little Angels we discover the secrets her mother hid and the horrors women who disobey are put through in the cult.

Book 2 truthfully examines human nature and the unnatural dictates of Warren Jeffs while he’s in prison for life, based on his prophetic warnings and outlawing marital sex. My thinking on this, which I also give to Eve’s character, is if Jeffs can’t have sex with his 60 plus wives, his male cult followers should suffer as he does. The caveat is he needs the men in power on the outside to continue doing his bidding and establishes them as seed bearers for "specifically designated" women to carry the seed of God’s children. These men are the only ones granted the right to procreate and keep the bloodlines pure. The women are held down by their husbands while seed bearers have sex with them. This led me to another aspect of book 2 where a newborn baby is missing and Detective Eve Bennet and her team are called to find the child only to discover more babies, known as "children of sin" have disappeared.

"The women are held down by their husbands while seed bearers have sex with them."

Men unable to have sex with their multiple wives would be nearly impossible preposterous and is where human nature supersedes cult prophesy. I don’t believe all these men would follow the new rules. So, what happens to the babies born outside Jeffs’ dictates? We haven’t heard a news story about these children but I think we eventually will. Like the graves in Babyland where innocent children with genetic disorders due to incest were possibly murdered and buried, what about the so called "children of sin" that have not been discovered? Is anyone even looking? I cannot fathom men going without sex when their multiple wives are brainwashed to do their bidding. And, like Babyland, will these children remain a mystery that no one wants to uncover because they should rest in peace? I find the entire concept questionable but so far I have found no trace of children being born by the FLDS members that go against Jeffs’ prophecies.  

I spend hours researching cults, not just the FLDS. The minds of the people caught up in unbelievable controlled deception fascinates and terrifies me. I’m grateful I’m able to share these thoughts with my readers. For those who want further reading, I’ve included links above to some of my research.

Only Girl Alive - available now

Lost Little Angels - available for preorder releases 7/19/2023

Book 3 is waiting for title and cover, available December 2023 by Bookouture Hachette Publishing.

Holly Roberts is a retired sex crimes and homicide detective who worked several hours from Warren Jeffs' compound. She's a USA TODAY bestselling author of spicy romance but her passion is reading and writing thrillers. Her now defunct police blog won numerous awards including #1 Police Blog in the country and is now available in ebook and paperback, writing as Suzie Ivy. She lives high in the Arizona mountains with her husband and two spoiled dogs. 

FLDS Baby Graveyard

The most horrifying secret I uncovered while researching the Eve Bennet crime thrillers was Babyland, the infant graveyard where Warren Jeffs’ FLDS cult members buried their babies. Lack of maternity, infant care, and inbreeding led to much higher baby deaths than the national average. It’s heartbreaking and was absolutely preventable.

Fresh graves in a cemetery

The unmarked graves for children with severe birth defects and the story behind them made my blood boil. The FLDS midwife, Aunt Martha, and her husband, Uncle Fred, also ran the Babyland cemetery. When a child with severe genetic issues could no longer be cared for by parents, the midwife picked them up and these babies disappeared.

Aunt Martha and Uncle Fred were never prosecuted. He died in his 90s but she is still alive. Investigative journalists and ex-FLDS members feel these babies should rest in peace in their unmarked, dirt covered mounds in Babyland. As a retired homicide detective, I disagree. The horror needs to be a national story as our country moves toward Evangelical Christian Nationalism, white misogyny, and pure race ideology. Child marriage and polygamy laws are or have been decriminalized in many states. Incest and child rape are a hidden secret of unconscionable victimization in our country. It’s time the guilty face their crimes and victims have closure. 

These children never knew peace.

And they never will if their story remains buried.

I explore the topic of Babyland and more, in ONLY GIRL ALIVE Eve Bennet Book 1 available by Bookouture Hachette 1/13/2023. Check it out here.

For an eye-opening and more in-depth article on Babyland and used as part of my research, click here.

Inbreeding and Incest in Rural America

It’s time to oust inbreeding and incest from its dark hole of shame and injustice. Working sex crimes in a rural community opened my eyes to the rampant problem. Unfortunately, analyses are hard to find (nearly impossible in the U.S.) and the subject is rarely spoken of, thus, the dark hole where these offenses against children reside.

Praying child.

In a Lancet Study in the UK, 2007 to 2011, 31% of anomalies in children of Pakistani origin could be attributed to consanguinity (inbreeding). The relatively small community, married within their religion. In another study from 1938 to 1967, the University of Queensland studied 450,000 genomes of European decent and found inbreeding similarities: decreased cognitive abilities and muscular function, reduced height and lung function, and a greater risk of contracting diseases in general.

I would like to add violent aggression which has been documented in certain regions with religious inbreeding though I could find no studies in the U.S. I talk about violence association below.

The University of Queensland Study (Australia) found approximately 70% of inbreeding were people living in desolate areas. We call these areas "rural" in the U.S. Rural residents marry others from the same community. The gene pool is relatively small and this has gone on for generations. I don't necessarily agree with this list of states with the most inbreeding because I have done comprehensive research about the subject in Utah and Arizona (I worked as a detective in AZ) and neither made the list. 

During a minor theft case I worked early in my career, the woman I interviewed told me about her daughter who married her nephew. She said very matter of fact that she warned them the kids could be “woo hoo,” her words. She then went on and spoke about her other grandchildren like this was common.

I discovered it was.

The local newspaper printed a wedding announcement that had appeared in the paper thirty years before (I’ll use the name Jones though the actual name is more unique). Jones male married a female with the last name Jones. Two months after the anniversary celebration, their daughter’s marriage was announced and she was marrying another Jones. No one batted an eye.

The more child molestation cases I investigated, the more I correlated incest/inbreeding to specific families and their religion. I noticed physical characteristics such as large prominent foreheads, low cognitive abilities, and violence. I recommend watching Making a Murderer and The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia to understand the overall cognitive effects especially violent behavior. I dealt with similar families during my career.

In one case, a young boy was molested. I had three possible family suspects on the sex offender list who lived on the same property with the boy. The perpetrator was found to be grandpa who wasn’t in my peripheral at all and lived in another location within the town. Two of the three sex offending family members admitted grandpa was who first molested them. Five family members total admitted to being molested as young children by grandpa. On a side note, the family came together and begged the court to go light on my suspect. With help from his (now adult) victims, he was sentenced to only five years in prison. The youngest victim who started the investigation was six years old. Grandma was also the mother to one of her grandsons and yes that is confusing. I became accustomed to the quantity of incest/inbreeding while remaining shocked at the proclivity.

In a case I recused myself from due to friendship, I ran into a similar horror. My friend’s brother-in-law (now an adult) was sentenced at age 14 for molesting his cousin, her stepson. Her stepson (now an adult) perpetrated the same offense at a similar age, and then the brother-in-law’s son committed the offense with very young cousins at the exact age his father had (yes hard to follow). I also found these cases had male/female victims throughout with all but one being male perpetrators. The commonality in these cases was not protecting the children from known perpetrators within families.

In several TikTok videos I’ve made on the subject, comments from victims were eye-opening. They reported molestation to a parent and were told to accept it as the way of life within the family.

I saw this repeatedly throughout my career.

My own family has roots in rural American inbreeding. Though I was an army brat, raised in the US and abroad, my parents divorced when I was twelve and we left army bases and settled in the city. I lived the city life until I was forty-three. My mother and father were both from rural America. I have a rare lung condition that was passed to my grandson. My mother, my sister, and my granddaughter have another hereditary health condition. We also have someone in my direct family line who was a diagnosed psychopath. I write about it in my yet unpublished memoir, Bullets for Breakfast. My family tree has few branches with violence, incest, and health anomalies throughout.

In my life and career, I have known three diagnosed psychopaths. My relative killed three people (we suspect more), the two others are from solved homicides where I was the lead detective. One killed two, the other three. Each of these prosecuted suspects were extremely violent and the violence began at an early age. Think torturing small animals, serial killer mentality.

I do not discount city incest and inbreeding but my research has shown it as a predominantly white, rural, and religious phenomenon. We have a horrific problem in rural America and I believe my hypothesis should be studied further. We cannot combat a crisis we won’t face.

So where do we go from here? Most rural populations will not freely give DNA samples. The outside discovery of incest and inbreeding is too taboo. LDS Mormons have one of the best genealogy archives in the country. It would be a place to start.

The research for my new Crime Thriller had me examining the Fundamentalist LDS Church: Warren Jeffs, LeBarón’s, and Lafferty families who perpetrate violence, incest, inbreeding, human trafficking, and murder. The FLDS also have the highest number of children born with Fumarase Deficiency (average IQ 25) in the U.S. directly caused from inbreeding. Title and cover reveal coming soon. Releases 1/13/2023 from Bookouture Hachette.