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.

FLDS Crime Obsession

I want to share one of the stories behind the Eve Bennet crime thriller series. I worked as a sex crimes detective in a town and county a few hours from the polygamist community that straddled the Utah and Arizona border. The Mormon Church was the largest religion in the region followed by the Catholic Church. It was extremely eye-opening that so many of my cases came from the Mormon sector and few from the Catholic one.

Detail of St George Utah LDS Mormon Temple in early morning light

One of my most horrific memories was a case where the Mormon bishop, remained silent on the horrendous abuse a boy committed against his younger male sibling. The younger child told the bishop and instead of notifying law enforcement, the older boy was called in for counseling, he was 13. It took another year before the younger sibling bravely confided to a relative and I was notified. Had the church done the right thing and immediately called law enforcement, one of the worst cases of child sexual abuse I uncovered, would have been stopped a year earlier.

It should not come as a surprise that both boys had been abused by their stepfather since babyhood. Not only did the church defend this man but when he was remanded to his home by a judge, his ward provided his meals. As with most cases involving those in power at the church, I was the bad guy (woman) and a threat to their religion.

The county attorney’s office refused to prosecute the bishop due to confessional confidentiality which is still a thing in Arizona even after the Catholic Church’s tragedy of sexual abuse coverup for decades. It didn’t help that the CA’s office was entirely Mormon. It didn’t matter that it was the confession of a child begging for rescue. It’s one of the few cases, years after my retirement, that angers me to the point of tears.

A recent investigation by Michael Rezendes of the AP News (click here), on exactly how the Mormon church hides sexual abuse is worth the read. It goes into detail about a family very similar to the one I described above and how lawyers protected the good name of the church and not the children. It doesn't stop with Mormons; church coverup of child sexual abuse is widespread in almost every religion. 

The AP investigated case and mine were not from the polygamist branch of the Mormon Church, the backdrop for my Eve Bennet crime thriller series, but they ignited a fire in me to speak out on the abuse of children hidden within religion. My cases involving the fundamental polygamists were usually with families trying to escape the larger sect under the boot of Warren Jeffs.

In one case, three wives thankfully reported a sexual assault of one of their children while riding the school bus. This led to the discovery of years of abuse within another family. The women were nervous and chose their words carefully until I made it clear I was concerned about their child and not their living arrangements. Their story will be told in another blog post.

TRUTH: In 2016, a federal judge ordered oversight of law enforcement within the FLDS community run by Warren Jeffs in Utah and Arizona. CRIME FICTION: Detective Sergeant Eve Bennet and her team of investigators are in charge of felony cases within the oversight jurisdiction. Eve is the perfect woman for the job because she escaped the cult as a child of twelve before a forced marriage to a much older man.

Releases January 13th, 2023. Friday the Thirteenth, the best release day of the entire year! Title and cover reveal coming soon.