Scott Chandler, accompanied by his wife, Colette, was interviewed by TODAY’s Matt Lauer.
Chandler has denied allegations of beating and shackling teenagers, but said that parents who sign over guardianship to him understand that restraints could be used in extreme cases.
The Amber Alert followed an attempt by officials to execute a search warrant at Tierra Blanca Ranch, located between Deming and Truth or Consequences, prompted by reports of abuse from former students at the ranch.
Chandler told Lauer they were on a previously scheduled camping trip when police arrived, and denied purposefully being absent on the day authorities came forward with a warrant.
Lauer reported that for between $80 and $150 a day, dozens of families have sent their children to Tierra Blanca Ranch, which Chandler has run since 1994.
The mother of one teen in the program says her son was abused at the ranch.
Lauer added that TODAY spoke to six students who have been in the program, all of whom said it was the right thing for them and helped their lives.
Chandler said they are still working with 18-year-olds who remain at the ranch voluntarily.