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CA- Sex Offender in Amber Alert Appears in Court

6-24-2009 California:

SAN DIEGO - A sex offender arrested in Valley Center, where he was found with his girlfriend and her young daughter, who had been missing from Ohio for nearly a month, appeared in federal court Wednesday on an alleged parole violation.

Robbie Douglas Potter, 27, was taken into custody Tuesday, after deputies acting on a tip found 4-year-old Haylee Donathan at a Christian retreat called Morning Star Ranch in the 12000 block of Keys Creek Road around 3 p.m., according to San Diego County sheriff's Sgt. Robert Bishop.

The girl's mother, 24-year-old Candace Watson, was also arrested.

The manager at the retreat called authorities after he received a call from another Morning Star resident who recognized the girl from an Amber Alert billboard in Los Angeles, Deputy U.S. Marshal Omar Castillo said.

Mary Watson reported her granddaughter missing after she and her mother left for a camping trip on May 28 and failed to return as scheduled.

Potter was arraigned Wednesday afternoon in federal court in San Diego for allegedly violating terms of his supervised release in northern Ohio.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruben Brooks told Potter he was accused of violating probation for allegedly absconding from a Volunteers of America halfway house on May 28 without notifying his probation officer of his new address.

Potter also allegedly tested positive for marijuana at the halfway house on May 25, the judge said.

Brooks ordered the defendant held without bail pending a hearing on Monday.

A hearing was set for July 9, in which federal prosecutors will have to establish that Potter is the person that Ohio authorities are seeking, the judge said.

A $10,000 reward had been offered for information leading to the capture of Potter, a convicted sex offender.

Watson is due in Superior Court downtown tomorrow for an extradition hearing. Her daughter, meanwhile, is being cared for at the county's Polinsky Children's Center, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Jan Caldwell.

The girl may have contracted a mild case of chicken pox but is otherwise in good health and good spirits, Caldwell said, adding that plans will be made to return the girl to her grandmother in Ohio as soon as possible.

"I'm very happy that my granddaughter is coming home, and I just want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart," Haylee's grandmother told reporters. ..Source.. by SanDiego6

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