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Continued: April 27: Caught in a cult's dark embrace

A former landlord of Roark’s when he and his wife rented a double-wide trailer in Cheney, said 10 or 15 people would often come to their home for Sunday evening services.

“They were reclusive and seldom ever associated with other people,” he said. The trailer was on a private road, on 20 acres of pine trees and farmland about 18 miles south of Spokane.

Their daughters didn’t live with them — living about a mile away with other women.

Elmblad, who lives at the address on Barnard’s driver’s license, told a Pine County Sheriff’s deputy in late 2012 that Barnard didn’t live there but occasionally visited.

A reporter recently knocked on the door of the secluded home where several former maidens list a cleaning business. The home has a three-car garage, but two vehicles, including a late-model minivan, sat in the driveway. It’s at the end of a private drive with “no trespassing” signs posted.

Two women in their late 20s answered the door, filming their visitor on a cellphone. They declined to comment and asked the reporter to leave.

Law enforcement officials in Washington state continue to search for Barnard, and tips have poured in from across the state. As of Friday, investigators said there was no sign of him.

Barnard’s last-known address in Pine County is at Fair Haven, at the end of a winding private drive dotted by small homes, a red barn and several squawking chickens.

In the days after the charges were filed, residents there put up a handful of signs. “No trespassing,” they say in orange. “Private drive.”

Cole said investigators spoke with “just about all” fellowship members remaining in Minnesota. “Their association with Victor, they claim, has ended,” he said Thursday. “But we are skeptical.

“And we have our reasons for being skeptical.”

A strange intimacy

Former congregants say they’re bothered by what they didn’t question: Girls leaving their parents to live near Barnard at the camp. Barnard ordering families to uproot and move to one property or another. His growing worry about authorities. Now living in Sartell, Johnson is haunted by the instincts that she didn’t act upon. She noticed Barnard interact too closely with some of the maidens.

“It’s not normal. … When they’re together in a room and she’s helping him on with his coat and he asks her, ‘does my breath smell?’ and she’s smelling his breath and there was an intimacy there,” Johnson said. “It just felt different.”

Johnson knows others might not understand how followers became compliant. “As things are progressing and you’re in it, you don’t see that,” Johnson said.

After starting the camp together, Larsen grew removed from the fellowship’s day-to-day operations, becoming immersed in his cabinet shop. He grew distant from Barnard, occasionally questioning some of his odd actions. Now, he wishes he had fought harder.

“I had huge regret about that — still do,” he said.

Talking with other men who were part of the congregation, Larsen said he told them that “every single one of us should be ashamed of ourselves that we let him do this.”

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