State police: 10 kids missing from troubled youth ranch

Posted at: 10/11/2013 2:08 PM
Updated at: 10/12/2013 10:10 AM
By: Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com

Gov. Susana Martinez speaks to the media about the missing children and staff from Tierra Blanca Ranch
Gov. Susana Martinez speaks to the media about the missing children and staff from Tierra Blanca Ranch

UPDATE: State Police issued an Amber Alert for nine missing children. Read more: Amber Alert issued for missing ranch children

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Ten children went missing from a troubled youth ranch on Friday, according to New Mexico State Police. 

An Amber Alert is expected to be issued Friday afternoon for the children from Tierra Blanca Ranch. 

State police went to serve a warrant at the ranch on Friday, only to find the children missing--along with all ranch employees.

State officials first told KOB Eyewitness News 4 that 13 children were missing from the ranch, but state police now say 10 are missing. New Mexico's Children, Youth and Families Department maintains only nine children are missing.

Tierra Blanca Ranch, a 30,000-acre ranch located in Hillsboro, N.M., is a camp for troubled and at-risk youth owned by Scott Chandler. According to the ranch's website, the Chandler family has worked with children for almost 20 years.

The incident follows an investigative report into allegations of abuse at the ranch by KOB. Reporter Chris Ramierz went through hundreds of pages of police reports and state documents that showed a pattern of complaints alleging rampant abuse. At least a dozen boys interviewed at different times by different investigators said they were forced into child slavery at Tierra Blanca Ranch.

They told stories of working outside for up to 15 hours a day in grueling conditions, sometimes in extreme temperatures. They said they were punished by excessive exercises, food deprivation, threats of castration, and brutal beatings. In a police report, one teen described being forced by a staff member to put rocks and sand in a sock and beat his friend.

Stick with KOB.com for updates.