High Surf Advisory issued January 26 at 3:34AM EST expiring January 27 at 7:00AM EST in effect for: Pinellas
The three daughters of Martin Winters, the "doomsday prepper," are speaking out in his defense just one day after he turned himself in to the FBI.
"That's not our father. He's not a violent person," said Melinda Winters, choking back tears.
Today the three women were able to speak with their father over the phone. It was the first conversation they had with him since a judge denied him bond Wednesday.
"He said he was fine. He loves us. Not to worry about him and that he's safe," Tracey Winters recalled.
Winters is a father of three and grandfather of six.
On Wednesday, he surrendered to the FBI after a two-day manhunt. Federal agents have accused him of making destructive devices without a permit, stockpiling weapons and threatening to kill government agents.
But his daughters maintain the FBI has it all wrong.
"I think they took the whole context of him being prepared and twisted it," said Tracey.
The women say their dad is not the "leader" of the doomsday group, the River Otter Preppers. They also deny he ever threatened to kill government agents.
"If he was that big of a danger or threat to the community, then why did they wait months to come and get him," Tracey asked.
So why did he run when federal agents tried to serve him an arrest warrant on Monday?
"My personal opinion is that when they approached him and they had guns to his vehicle and his grandchildren were in there...he reacted," Melinda said.
According to the sisters, two of Winters grandchildren were in the truck with him when agents tried to stop his vehicle on Monday and he sped away. The women tell ABC Action News he eventually dropped off the two grandkids in front of a house he knows well.
"We just want our daddy back," said Melinda.
A candlelight prayer vigil was held for Winters on his property Thursday night. More than 100 family members and friends turned out to show their support.