Crawford Residents Worried Ranch Could Be Home to Polygamist Group

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

On Monday, agents raided what they believe to be a polygamist compound in Texas, taking hundreds of women and children into protective custody. Less than after that, residents in the small town of Crawford, Colorado say they think a similar compound might have sprung up in their community.

Neighbors say at this point they have no real proof that any illegal activity is taking place, but that they've noticed several things about the ranch that they're calling suspicious.

They say a privacy fence has been built around the complex, even though the area is for the most part secluded. They also say a new facility is being built on the property, and that they've noticed an increase of people in the area in the past weeks.

"It has been a growing concern to various people throughout the community about what's going on out there," said a neighbor of the ranch, who asked 11 News not to release his name. "Nobody knows and nobody has been able to find out."

That's what residents of Crawford are saying about the ranch near the intersection of 3350 Road and B25 Road. It's a place that many of them believe might be home to a polygamist religious group.

One neighbor says he's tried to contact the people who live at the ranch to see if they could shed any light on a growing community concern.

"I ran into somebody at the gate," said the neighbor. "They were very polite. I asked them if there was anybody I could speak with. They said no and they asked that I leave the property."

Other than that brief encounter, the neighbor says the group has made no contact with community members, that the front gate is bolted shut, and that people are rarely seen outside of the privacy fence.

The Delta County Sheriff says he's received calls from several of the neighbors, and can understand why they're concerned.

"Since the Texas incident, people are just alerted and they're paying attention," said Sheriff Fred McKee.

But he says for the time being, there's nothing he can do.

"We have no information or no complaints advising us of any criminal activity at that residence whatsoever," said Sheriff McKee.

Residents say they understand why the Sheriff's Office can't move forward on an investigation, but that they'll continue to be on the lookout for any sign that will prove or disprove their suspicions.

"This is a wonderful community," said the neighbor. "It's a good group of people out here and we just want to keep it that way."

According to records from the Delta County Assessor's Office, the owner of the property is man named Neph Barlow. 11 News tried to get in contact with him, but there was no phone listing for that name, and Delta County records say his mailing address is a P.O. Box in Nevada.

The Delta County Sheriff's Office says Barlow and the ranch are not under any type of investigation. Officials do say, however, they plan on visiting the property sometime this week, just to make contact with the group.


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