They had been living at the Morning Star ranch, described as a place for people who share a common faith and pot, meaning their income is shared. Robbi Potter, 27, and Candace Watson, 24, worked in the kitchen and on the ranch until they were arrested Tuesday.
Kevin Carlin said it was the same as any other day on the Morning Star Ranch. People were working on the farm, taking care of the children, including Potter and Watson.
"They weren't terrible people we didn't suspect, we didn't have alarms go off, we didn't say this is a monster in our midst,” he said.
Potter is a sex offender, who walked away from a halfway house in Ohio after serving prison time for sexual battery on two children. He met up with his girlfriend Watson and her 4-year-old daughter and the couple then split with the girl.
A resident of the ranch, heading east saw a billboard with photos of the missing girl. He called the retreat, which then called 9-1-1.
“Robbie just said, sorry guys, sorry it had to be this way, I didn't know what to say and I didn't say anything, sorry it had to be this way,” Carlin said.
The girl was not harmed, and will soon be reunited with her grandmother in Ohio.
“Really, we're just innocent members of Morning Star Ranch, we showed hospitality to these people and in a real way they took advantage of us by not telling us the truth,” Carlin said.
Potter was arraigned Wednesday in federal court on charges of violating his parole. The girl's mother has not yet appeared before a judge