Growing up in Colonia LeBaron Mexico a fundamentalist Mormon colony six hours south of the New Mexico border Ruth Wariner rarely felt safe.She was 3 months old in 1972 when her father Joel LeBaron the head of the polygamist Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times, was brutally murdered – assassinated in a plot concocted by his brother Ervil – the leader of a separate sect.
They called Ervil LeBaron the Mormon Manson.
In the 1970s and ’80s he ordered the deaths of dozens more of his religious rivals.
For years Ruth says she lived in fear – terrified her uncle would send henchmen to kill her and the rest of her family.
‘Ervil was the monster of my childhood – this ghostlike dark figure’ she says. ‘I never met him but he was a constant threat’.
Recently Anna LeBaron one of Ervil’s 50-plus children found Ruth on Twitter and reached out to her.
The pair met in early December and now hope to gather their families for a reunion next summer on the Oregon coast.
It’s been a symbolic exchange.
‘Even though there’s no way to repair the damage that was done to her family – in my own way I feel as if I’m doing my part to help right a wrong’ says Anna 47 who lives in Dallas and is giving Ruth’s book a boost through her GoodReads community.
‘Knowing her is a gift’.
In an exclusive joint interview—their first together ever—the cousins shared their story with Salon.