Child Dies at North Carolina ‘Troubled Teen’ Camp

( – A twelve-year-old boy died just one day after beginning his stay at a wilderness camp for troubled adolescents. The boy had been taken with parental consent from New York to the North Carolina camp by two men on Friday, February 2nd. The next day, at 8:10 am, a call was made to 911 about a boy at the camp who was not breathing. Although first responders attended the scene with deputies and attempted to help the boy, they found him dead at the scene, and quickly determined that he had been dead “for some time”.

The camp, Trails Carolina, is located in the Lake Toxaway area of North Carolina and was established in 2008 as a “nature-based therapy program” for children aged from 10-17 years. The camp charges up to $715 per day for each child and claims to have “proven results” for its efforts. Despite this, the camp has in the past been at the center of both tragedy and controversy. One 17-year-old boy, Alec Lansing, ran away from the camp in 2014 and died of hypothermia.

In 2020, 35-year-old Jonathan Hide joined the camp as a wilderness field instructor but was fired soon after due to his disagreement with some of the camp’s practices. Amongst other complaints, he claimed that for several weeks, the licensed therapist due to provide therapeutic care to the children did not appear, with an unqualified assistant sent in her place to help with suicidal youngsters far away from their families.

Following the as-yet-unexplained death of the 12-year-old boy, Trails Carolina released a statement saying that the family’s privacy was the top priority and that the camp would assist the police as much as possible. Despite this claim, the Sheriff’s office has accused the camp of failing to fully cooperate as they investigate the child’s death, which is being treated as suspicious. On Tuesday, February 6th, two warrants were granted for authorities to search the camp, both in the location where the boy was found and the part of the camp where his cabinmates were moved to after his death. The two staff members assigned to his cabin have since been put on leave.

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