exposing the dark side of adoption
Register Log in

Boys report being shackled and beaten at remote New Mexico ranch for troubled teens


Police, child welfare authorities are investigating abuse claims from boys who say they were held in chains and hit with batons. Staff at The Tierra Blanca Ranch north of Las Cruces, N.M., also ordered boys to beat each other, residents claim.


State authorities are investigating claims that teenage boys were beaten and placed in chains at an unlicensed ranch for at-risk youths.

The private facility offers treatment for drug abuse and behavioral problems in a setting that reinforces “responsibility, self-discipline, and the existence of consequences to the youths in our care,” according to the 30,000-acre ranch’s web site.

The Tierra Blanca Ranch in southern New Mexico is under investigation by state police and child welfare authorities, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Teenagers sent to the working cattle ranch reported to police they had been shackled and beaten by employees and other residents.

State police found one boy in chains after his mother complained her son was being abused. Officers had previously returned the boy to the religious camp after he escaped and called police.

Ranch owner Scott Chandler issued a statement saying “most youth get on track to successful and rewarding lives outside the ranch.”

The Chandler family has operated the estate for 15 years and is “proud of its success in serving families and their at-risk children over the years.”

Tierra Blanca first came to the attention of child welfare officials in 2006, but the Children, Youth and Families Department determined the ranch was a wilderness program and not subject to state licensing regulations.

2013 Oct 7