A devoutly Christian couple has been found in California after fleeing their home in Washington state amid an ongoing custody dispute with Child Protective Services and their three children have been removed from their care less than two months after they regained custody.
Erica Carey, 29, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly assaulting police after she and her common-law husband, Cleve Goheen-Rengo, 23, were stopped at a gas station with their 3-month-old twins, Moran Kai and Daniel, and 1-year-old son, Levi.
The children were removed from the couple's care for two months last year following welfare concerns from Child Protective Services. While they regained custody in December 2014, new welfare concerns were again raised last month before they fled.
West Coast news outlets ran a "Be on the Lookout" alert from law enforcement and the family was spotted by a member of the public who then immediately called police.
"She head-butted one of our sergeants and kicked a sheriff's deputy," CHP Officer Brad Sadek told KSBW following Carey's arrest.
Reports claim that during the arrest, an enraged Carey was calling out for Jesus.
"Jesus! Help! They are taking my children! I want my babies," she was quoted as saying.
Police say she will be charged with battery and resisting a peace officer.
Carey reportedly told a local cameraman to "send a message to America for me. Children don't belong to the government. The government belongs to the people."
Following Thursday's incident, all three children were again removed from the couple's care and are with CPS.
Attorney Christina King, who's been working with the troubled couple, would not comment on Carey's arrest during a phone call with The Christian Post on Friday.
"I have zero information," King repeatedly told CP without confirming if she's still in fact representing the couple.
She previously defended their parenting skills and said any concerns are "primarily speculative."
"Most of the safety risk is primarily speculative," said King. "Parents have a constitutional right to parent as they see fit."
Carey and Rengo, who believe in a holistic lifestyle, made headlines in September when they accused the state of Washington of unlawfully removing their then-newborn twins and 10-month-old son over their decision to have an unassisted home birth inside their Bellingham apartment. They opted not to have a midwife present or have prenatal medical care and the decision was attributed to their strong religious beliefs.
"I've done a lot of research about other women who have done it and they said the spiritual experience was so much more wholesome," Carey previously told the Bellingham Herald. "It was just us. We wanted to preserve that sanctity and sacredness in our birth."
Although CPS denied that the unassisted home birth influenced its decision to remove the children from the home, the couple's story sparked outrage, with many criticizing the decision to remove breastfed babies from their mother.
A Facebook page created to help reunite the family with their children garnered more than 5,000 likes.
The state said previously that all three children were taken from the couple last year over health and domestic concerns, according to reports.
In December, a Whatcom County Superior Court commissioner agreed to give the couple a "second chance" so long as they followed his orders to alter their parenting methods and seek counseling. Reports suggest there might've been a breach to the commissioner's order, which is why the children were removed from their parents' care.
"This is about second chances because you blew the first one," Commissioner Thomas Verge previously told the couple, although he also said he recognized the "love you both have for your children."
Under Verge's conditions, the couple was permitted to continue with their holistic lifestyle, however, they were ordered to regularly check in with a pediatrician. They were also instructed to seek counseling in a bid to improve their parenting skills and he also urged them to find their own place as soon as possible, as he believed a one-bedroom apartment was far too small for the family.
Carey never had an ultrasound, fearing that doing so could cause damage to her womb and subsequently, the couple only learned that they were having twins during the birth.
Concerned neighbors reportedly called 911 after hearing Carey's birthing cries while she was delivering the twins, which resulted in paramedics showing up at the one-bedroom apartment the couple shared with Rengo's father, Bruce Rengo.
The couple refused to travel with paramedics to the hospital after it was suggested they go and get the twins checked out. A day later, CPS showed up and made several visits to the home thereafter.
During one particular visit, officers noticed Levi's eczema and the couple's refusal to treat it using steroid creams as opposed to their preferred natural ointments. This did not sit well with authorities and the couple claimed they were bullied by CPS, who insisted that they use the steroid cream on their child.
"It's a very harsh treatment and can have very negative side effects. It can cause damage to bones, the muscular system and liver," Carey said of the steroid creams, with Rengo adding, "They wanted the authority in my household. I told them, 'I'm a Christian and God gave me the authority in my household.'"
Last year, Assistant Attorney General Rob Olson told the Washington court that law enforcement had been in contact with the couple 21 times since 2013.
Among the many concerns about the couple's home life (which led to the removal of their three children), was a past domestic violence arrest on Rengo's part; refusal to provide the children medical treatment; the twins being underweight and Bruce Rengo's mental health issues.