Lifestyle - Only Girl Alive
HOLLY'S CRIME BLOG

Years ago I wrote one of the top cop blogs in the country. It won numerous awards and helped relieve stress from my job. I will be revitalizing some of those posts, adding new ones, and interviewing authors who write all types of crime novels. I'll also give inside info on my Eve Bennet crime thriller series. Thank you for joining me.


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.