SALT LAKE CITY, UT (KTRK) --A mother's desperate attempt to free her children from a polygamist compound came to an intense standoff.
Sabrina Broadbent escaped the compound 8 years ago. After a long court battle, she obtained custody of her children.
When she went back to the compound to get her children out, things turned tense.
Flora Jessop, a former polygamist turned child abuse activist, told ABC 4 in Utah that 600 devout polygamist followers of former FLDS leader Warren Jeffs wouldn't oblige and surrounded the van Broadbent was in.
"They were kicking her vehicle," said Jessop. "They were trying to put chickens in her vehicle. At one point they tried to put a cow in her car. They refused to bring the children out and give her her children."
According to reports, 16 adults in the home banned Broadbent's children from leaving. It wasn't until reinforcements came that the kids were released and the standoff ended.
Salt Lake City attorney Robert Hoole told ABC 4 that there has to be a change in the community.
"We need to see law enforcement in that community that is legitimate that is not beholden to a religious leader and obeys the law," said Hoole.
The drama did not end there. When Broadbent returned to her home in Joseph, Utah, she found someone had broken inside. At first, she blamed the polugamist sect.
"They had broke every bit of furniture in their home, dog feces in every single room, magic marker on the walls," said Jessop. "They literally destroyed everything they had."
The sheriff's department later learned it was Broadbent's own children who vandalized the home. The department says this is a struggle children face when they leave the compound.