Father, son balk at abuse claims at Tierra Blanca Ranch

Posted at: 10/14/2013 8:20 PM
Updated at: 11/11/2015 3:27 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A father and son drove all the way from Scottsdale, Ariz., to Hillsboro, N.M., then to KOB Eyewitness News 4 to say that the abuse allegations against Tierra Blanca Ranch are bogus.

“They've done so much good in my life, they've led me, they've mentored me, they've helped me out a lot,” Dmytro Bilynsky said.

He said he lived at the ranch for more than six years – between 2003 and 2009.  He said ranch owner Scott Chandler is like a father to him.

When asked about the allegations of abuse against the ranch, first documented by 4 On Your Side, Bilynsky and his adoptive father, Michael Schafer, said they don’t add up.

“Well, I don't believe they're true in my 6 and a half years I've been there, I've never seen anything like that.  So, I don't really believe it,” Bilynsky said.

He said the allegations were fabricated.

“I think so,” he said.

Regardless, Governor Susana Martinez said there’s credibility to the allegations, according to what state police found on Friday.

“The search warrant revealed evidence that I cannot tell you precisely what it was, but did corroborate some of the allegations of some of those boys,” she said.

Bilynsky said he believes Chandler’s attorney that Chandler and the boys went on a prescheduled camping trip on Friday.  He said camping trips are a routine part of how Chandler conditions the boys at his ranch.

State police arrived at the ranch Friday morning – less than 12 hours after the 4 On Your Side investigation – to find the ranch vacant.

Bilynsky and Schafer agreed that Chandler’s behavior looks suspicious, but they said people need to keep an open mind and appreciate every side to the story.

“That’s why we chose to come,” Schafer said.