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Bountiful mom says family working to bring daughter home from Texas

VICTORIA - A B.C. mother living in British Columbia's polygamist community says she's working to bring her daughter back to Canada after the teen was apprehended last month by U.S. child-welfare authorities at a polygamist community in Texas.


VICTORIA - A B.C. mother living in British Columbia's polygamist community says she's working to bring her daughter back to Canada after the teen was apprehended last month by U.S. child-welfare authorities at a polygamist community in Texas.

The mother said Tuesday her family is working through channels that do not include the Canadian government in order to bring the girl home. "My daughter is down there and we're working on getting her home," the woman said in a telephone interview from Bountiful, located near Creston about 740 kilometres east of Vancouver.

She said her family has yet to contact the Canadian government for help.

"I haven't ventured in to have them help us," said the mother, who will not be identified by The Canadian Press in order to protect the identity of the daughter caught up in the child welfare investigation in Texas.

"I haven't ventured that way. We're working on it in the other direction."

Foreign Affairs has confirmed that one Canadian is involved in the child seizures in Texas, but did not provide further details.

The government said it was providing diplomatic assistance to the person.

Foreign Affairs officials were not immediately available for further comment Tuesday.

B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal said the provincial government will offer any help it can to the teen and her family.

He said he couldn't immediately say what help British Columbia could offer other than to contact the federal government to ensure Ottawa is aware of the situation.

"This is something obviously that's of some concern to us if she's a local person in Texas and wants help," said Oppal. "We would do everything we could to help her."

He said he expects Foreign Affairs to contact Texas officials to make them aware of the Bountiful mother's concerns.

Oppal said B.C. and Foreign Affairs have kept in close contact since the Texas authorities apprehended the children on April 3.

"Foreign Affairs was in touch with us very early, and we've always made it clear we're prepared to help in every possible way you can," he said.

The girl's family lives in Bountiful, and the mother said the girl went to Texas to visit her grandparents at the Yearning For Zion ranch in Eldorado, Texas.

Both communities belong to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which split with the mainstream Mormon church when it abandoned the practice of polygamy.

More than 400 children at the Texas ranch were apprehended by U.S. authorities and placed in temporary foster care after a teenage girl alleged her husband, believed to be a much older man, abused and sexually assaulted her.

Some former church members allege young women are transported across the Canada-U.S. border in both directions to marry older men in polygamous unions, but the B.C. mother said her daughter is not married and did not go to Texas to get married.

The B.C. government is examining whether to launch a legal case in the B.C. Court of Appeal to determine if Canada's current laws against polygamy can withstand a freedom of religious rights challenge in court.

The Bountiful woman did not answer when asked if there are more people with ties to Bountiful caught up in the situation at the Texas ranch.

 
 
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