On July 24, 2004 John William Nicholson was found dead at the age of 22. He was said to have fallen off a 250 foot cliff while rock climbing.
The rope was destroyed.
His rappel brake was removed from the scene.
The local police were not contacted for several hours.

Johnny grew up in a polygamist fundamental Mormon sect in Utah, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).

The same week Johnny died, Brent Jeffs filed a lawsuit against his uncle, Warren Jeffs, the "Prophet, Revelator and Seer" of the FLDS, accusing Warren of raping him as a child.

Two other nephews came forward with similar accusations. Clayne Jeffs committed suicide with a firearm shortly after sharing his long-held secret. David Jeffs, preparing to testify against Warren in 2005, was found dead of "heart failure" at the age of 27.


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For 8 years Johnny was in the same class as Brent Jeffs, in the same school that the boys were abused in, with the same schoolmaster and teacher Warren Jeffs. Jeffs was later on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list and is currently facing 10 years to life in prison for 2 counts of rape as an accomplice, for forcing a 14-year old girl into marriage, who was repeatedly raped by her husband.

Johnny's sister Kathy Jo, who escaped the polygamous community in 1991, believes there was foul play. She suspects Johnny had information about Warren, that Johnny was possibly abused as well, and that he was ordered to be killed, justified by the original Mormon doctrine of Blood Atonement before Warren's trial could begin.

Kathy Jo, who struggled to leave an infamously secretive community, returned in 2009 to seek answers from that same community about her brother's suspicious death.



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