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FBI raids home in Colorado City after 3 girls found inside trailer on freeway

Man previously arrested for child abuse
Posted at 4:45 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-13 21:37:58-04

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. — The FBI executed a search warrant on a home in an Arizona town with ties to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, following the arrest of a man accused by authorities of transporting young girls in a locked cargo trailer toward Phoenix.

Residents in the Colorado City community said federal agents were at the home of 46-year-old Samuel Rappylee Bateman on Tuesday. Videos posted to social media showed police vehicles outside a home and a police officer on a bullhorn ordering people to come out of the home.

Video below shows the raid on the Colorado City home by FBI agents

FBI Raid Raw Video

"I can confirm that the FBI has personnel in Colorado City today conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity," a spokesperson for the FBI's office in Phoenix told FOX 13 News.

The raid may be related to Bateman's arrest two weeks ago on child abuse charges. According to a police report provided to FOX 13 News, Bateman was arrested near Flagstaff after multiple people at a nearby gas station called 911 to report that there were children inside an enclosed cargo trailer.

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The Arizona Highway Patrol pulled Bateman over on I-40 and troopers claimed they found three girls who were between 11 and 15 years old in a locked, enclosed trailer. Two more girls were in the pickup truck's cab with Bateman, according to the police report. Bateman admitted to putting the three girls in the trailer and was heading to the Phoenix area, officers wrote, but he claimed they were safe and that this was legal within Arizona laws.

According to police, the girls "all stated they were going somewhere in Phoenix or Tucson but didnt [sic] know length of time or purpose of trip." Bateman did not have a parental relationship with any of them.

There were also two adult women traveling with him, the police report said. The mother of two of the girls was reached by phone and said she was aware of Bateman traveling with them.

"Under the circumstances, I'm okay with my daughters being there, if they stay together," she reportedly told police.

However, troopers wrote in the arrest report that there was no ventilation, no lighting and no "restraint seating." They also said the doors were locked from the outside and there was a bucket in the trailer for the kids to use as a toilet.

Bateman was booked into the Coconino County Jail on suspicion of child abuse, documents stated.

The police reports show that his cell phone was seized by law enforcement as a part of that arrest.