Wife of Alleged Polygamist Cult Leader Samuel Batemen Was 'Cut Off' From Family Outside of Sect, Lawyer Says

A generic image of female members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS).
The women pictured are a group of FLDS wives with no relation to those mentioned in the article.Getty

Naomi Bistline and Donnae Barlow, alleged wives of FLDS breakaway sect leader Samuel Bateman, were charged with kidnapping. Both of them remain in federal custody.

Naomi Bistline, the wife of alleged polygamist cult leader Samuel Batemen, is “relieved, at the moment, that she’s away from it all” and “does not want any contact with anybody that’s involved with that” as she awaits her next court appearance after being arrested on kidnapping charges earlier this month, her lawyer told Inside Edition Digital.

“She’s beginning to understand how victimized she was,” said Dan Kaiser, her attorney. “She’s realizing she has loving family members [independent of the cult] that are out there to support her, and she was, from the most part, cut off from all that.”

Bistline, 24, was denied release at her Tuesday hearing and remains behind bars despite the judge’s acknowledgement of “the fact that she’s been victimized,” Kaiser told Inside Edition Digital.

Meanwhile, the lawyer for a second alleged wife, Donnae Barlow, 24, who was arrested alongside Bistline, echoed Kaiser's sentiments, saying in an email to Inside Edition Digital that Barlow also experienced "victimization."

"She has been catapulted into a world foreign to her and her incarceration is compounding the trauma she has already endured in her young life," Barlow's lawyer Roberta McVickers told Inside Edition Digital. 

"Donnae is experiencing unimaginable agony being separated from her child," McVickers said. "This is also the first time she has been separated from her mother, sister and other close family members."

A judge ruled last week that Barlow will remain in federal custody for the remainder of her case.

McVickers said in court last week that Barlow is the mother of a 2-year-old child who is disabled and requires 24-hour care, according to the Arizona Republic

Bistline and Barlow, along with a third alleged wife, Moretta Rose Johnson, 19, were charged with obstruction of justice and kidnapping after eight girls taken from their compound disappeared from state-run group homes, according to KSL.com.

The eight minors had been taken into custody by Arizona Department of Child Services during a September raid of Bateman’s compound, according to the Washington Post.

Authorities allege Bistline, Barlow and Johnson had been in contact with the girls and helped them plan a trip away from their group homes last month.

McVickers claimed in court last week that Barlow only had a seventh-grade homeschool education, didn’t understand she had to abide by court orders when she contacted the children, and believed that her family members had been in trouble, the Arizona Republic reported.

Johnson, who was arrested while allegedly driving the car containing the eight children, remains in custody in Spokane, Washington, where she awaits extradition.

All three women are relatives of the children, and are either current or former wives of Bateman, the Associated Press reported, citing an FBI affidavit.

Bateman, who broke away from the FLDS to lead his own group of about 50 followers, was arrested on Aug. 28 when the Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers found three girls aged 11 to 14 in an unventilated trailer with a makeshift toilet and camping chairs, officials said. He has been in and out of jail since.

Bateman faces state charges of child abuse and federal charges of tampering with evidence. Bateman has pleaded not guilty to all state and federal charges against him. He has not been charged with sexual abuse or trafficking.

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