Amber Alert over; State police still searching for ranch owner

Posted at: 10/13/2013 9:41 PM
Updated at: 11/03/2014 8:47 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

On Sunday evening, state police confirmed nine teens reported missing from Tierra Blanca Ranch in Southern New Mexico on Friday morning are now safe at home with their families.

The Amber Alert is over, but state police are continuing to search for Scott Chandler, the ranch's owner, who was also named as a person of interest in the case.

In an interview with NBC News on Sunday, Chandler's attorney, Pete Domenici Jr., put someone on speakerphone before the interview, but would not reveal their identity.

It is unclear whether it could have been Chandler.

In a news conference Sunday, state police would not say much about any leads on Chandler's whereabouts. But state officials said if anyone knows, it is likely his mother or his attorney.

On Friday, KOB Eyewitness news 4 asked Chandler's mother, Kay Chandler, if she knew where he was.

"I was just told that all the parents are coming to get their children and they are all being instructed. That's all I can tell you," she said. "I haven't talked to my son and it grieves me."

In the interview with NBC News, Domenici would not give a location for Chandler either.

He did tell NBC that Chandler would never harm ranch teens.

"He cares deeply about these youths," Domenici said. "He considers them his family. He considers their parents his family. He works with their parents--and them--as family."

Domenici also sent out a four-page statement Sunday, claiming the teens were on a scheduled trip while state police were looking for them.

He also wrote CYFD and state police showed up without notice and stormed the ranch on Friday morning. He said if they had contacted the ranch beforehand, all of this could have been avoided.

State police will not address that claim.

In the four-page statement, there is no denial that kids were shackled or beaten on the ranch.

In fact, there is nothing in the document at all about abuse allegations on the ranch. 

Continuing Coverage:

4OYS Investigator Chris Ramirez reflects on Tierra Blanca Investigation
Search continues for missing kids and ranch owner
Investigators worked Tierra Blanca Ranch case for months
KOB investigates reports of abuse at Tierra Blanca Ranch