Flash floods kill 12 people in Utah – BBC News

Hildale is home to many members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Flash floods in the US state of Utah have killed at least 12 people with one person still missing.

The dead include women and children whose vehicles were swept away by a rush of water near the town of Hildale.

Three people were rescued. The floods followed heavy rains in the canyons just north of the town.

Hildale once served as a home base for polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, and there are concerns flood warnings may not reach members of the sect.

Three more bodies were found on Tuesday, bringing the death toll up from nine to 12.

The National Weather Service had issued a flash flood warning earlier, leading nearby Zion National Park to close canyons as a precaution.

But members of Jeffs’ sect, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), are discouraged from having contact with the outside world and may have not received the warnings.

The FLDS broke off from the official Mormon church when the main church denounced polygamy in the late 19th century .

In 2011, Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting underage girls whom he considered brides.

He is believed to have up to 70 wives,according to ABC News, which interviewed former members of FLDS in May.

However, the community is split between loyalists who still believe Jeffs is a victim of religious persecution and defectors who are embracing government efforts to pull the town into modern society.

Map showing the town of Hildale, about 315 miles (507 km) south of Salt Lake City

Source: Flash floods kill 12 people in Utah – BBC News

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