Of Bigfoot, Bob Schaffer and Colorado’s fake ‘child bride’

The end of the year is always a good time to look back and reminisce on the bizarre and ridiculous, like when U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer claimed that he, personally, had not witnessed a forced abortion while traveling (and parasailing) in the Northern Mariana Islands while in Congress — and when two guys from Georgia claimed they had the dead body of Bigfoot. Possibly Colorado’s freakiest hoax of 2008, however, was the crank call, placed by a Colorado Springs woman, that led to the forced removal of 400 children from a Texas compound of fundamentalist Mormons.

It all started on March 30, when Rozita Swinton, a 33-year old woman from Colorado Springs, called the director of the Child Protective Project in Texas, claiming to be “Sarah,” a 16-year old child bride who was being held against her will in a polygamist compound.

Two weeks later Texas Rangers raided the compound and removed 400 children. Eventually, the children were returned, after the courts ruled that authorities had overstepped their bounds. The leader of the Mormon breakaway sect, Warren Jeffs, is currently in prison for serving as an accessory to rape.

As for Swinton, she is still being investigated as a person of interest in the case. In an added twist, the Colorado Springs resident’s Jan. 6 trial on unrelated charges stemming from another hoax phone call has been delayed.

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Cara Degette

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