Carey Cockerell, head of the state agency that removed more than 400 children from a West Texas polygamist sect, announced his retirement Friday.
Friends and associates said that Cockerell, 61, had planned to leave his job as commissioner for the Department of Family and Protective Services before the ill-fated raid on the Yearning For Zion Ranch near Eldorado.
After removing all of the sect’s children from their parents over allegations that some underage girls may have been sexually abused, the department lost a legal battle when the Texas Supreme Court said the mass custody case was unwarranted.
“The commissioner’s decision to retire did not have anything to do with the Eldorado operation,” said spokesman Patrick Crimmins. Cockerell, who rarely spoke to the news media, was not available for interviews Friday.
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