NC - 12-year-old dies at Trails Carolina wilderness therapy camp, Lake Toxaway, February 2024

A quick Google search confirms that there are all sorts of private pay mental health facilities for children, similar to the luxury rehabs celebrities will go to for "exhaustion" etc. Children get various types of therapy from licensed therapists and clinical teams in an inpatient setting.

I can't imagine it costs too much more than the $700 a day Trails charges to send your child to a private mental health facility, yet many parents still choose to send their kids to these camps instead.

The reason seems to be that the "tough love" model (eg withholding basic needs and frequently, abuse) amounts more to punishment than a private mental health facility does, and these parents want to see their children punished for their behaviors. Punished without, of course, the involvement of law enforcement, which might mar these wealthy kids records (and their wealthy parents' reputations).

It's disgusting, IMO.
The parents reputations these days are beyond "priceless" too them! IMO
 
Timeline of the anything I could find a time for, along with who says it:

2/2
Some time after 8 AM - According to the Sheriff's office, CJH arrives at Trails Carolina, transported from New York by two men.

2/3
12:00 AM (estimate) - According to the Sheriff's office, a counselor says that CJH was checked in on. No details as to who or how.
Approximately 12:00-12:30 - According to the Sheriff's office, a counselor says CJH began to experience a panic attack. The counselor and another counselor stood near the wall and watched, and the counselor does not mention if they attempted to assist CJH at this time. The warrant also refers to this as an "anxiety attack," so it's unclear how exactly the counselor characterized this, and if anyone involved can differentiate between an anxiety and a panic attack.
3:00 AM (estimate) - According to the Sheriff's office, a counselor says that CJH was checked in on. No details as to who or how.
6:00 AM (estimate) - According to the Sheriff's office, a counselor says that CJH was checked in on. No details as to who or how.
7:45 AM (estimate) - According to the Sheriff's office, a counselor says that CJH was found dead and was cold and stiff.
After 7:45 AM - According to the Sheriff's office, counselors said they made lifesaving efforts and a CPR mask was found on CJH. This is despite the 911 call stating that CJH was already cold and stiff. Life saving efforts were taken after finding CJH and before Fire arrived, but it's unknown if that happened before or after the 911 call was made (or both)
8:09 AM - According to the Sheriff's office, someone from Trails calls 911 dispatch to report an unresponsive 12 y/o. The caller says "We woke him up he's very cold. We are checking for a pulse. We are trying to resuscitate right now." and ends the call within 3 minutes, not answering the 911 dispatcher's followup questions. The search warrant says that Fire called in Deputies, but this press release says they were called in together based on the 911 call.
Shortly after 9 AM - According to the Sheriff's office, investigative staff (requested by deputies) arrive on scene to process the scene and collect evidence.

2/6
4:18 PM - According to the Sheriff's dept., the search warrant was received/issued. This may also be the time that a 2nd search warrant was received/issued.
5:20 PM - According to the Sheriff's dept., the search warrant was executed.
"Evening" - According to Trails, 4 boys 10-12 (presumably the boys who were in the bunkhouse were detained in the Sheriff's office. Trails says this was illegal and unauthorized.
1 AM - According to trails, the 4 boys 10-12 were released by the Sheriff's office after parents called. Trails alleges the Sheriff's office lied and said the boys were not there.
Unknown time - According to the Sheriff's dept., an autopsy took place and concluded that the death appears to be nonnatural, but a manner has not been identified. Trails says that comments from LE and "public agency personnel" (EMS/Fire?) indicated to them that the death was believed to be accidental and not suspicious.

2/7
12:53 PM - According to the Sheriff's dept., the search warrant was delivered back to the clerk.

2/12
Unknown time - DHHS issues notice to Trails that includes requirements to complete an incident report and cease new admissions.

2/15
After 5 PM - Trails says "DHHS threatened and intimidated parents by demanding parents travel from all over the country to pick up theirchildren or DHHS would take their children into custody"

2/16
Unknown time - DHHS issues Trails a notice to suspend admissions. "Therefore, a Suspension of Admissions is invoked, effective immediately, and prohibits Carolina Trails from admitting any new individuals to the camp or readmitting any former camp participants to Trails Carolina. This Suspension of Admissions shall remain in effect until April 14, 2024"


This article mentions 2 warrants totalling 23 pages, but I've only seen the one. Does anyone know anything about the other warrant? I'm guessing it might not be as publicly released if it relates only to the identification and production of the 4 boys, as this press release might indicate.
Thank you and I bookmarked for easy reference.
 
welcome to the thread @brow3665

What causes me to think that CJH was not curled up in a fetal position at the time of his death is the lividity that investigators noted on his back, which I took to be an indication that he died while on his back, in the position he was found in. Wouldn't lividity have been on his side if he died in his sleep while curled up on his side?

I appreciate having someone with forensic knowledge in this conversation.

One thing that struck me while going through the complaints on the state website is the age range of the minor clients and the variety of their diagnosis.

I find it troubling that the minor clients range from 10 years old to 16.
Hello new friend!

I do you have a link back to where the forensic findings were noted? I assume the autopsy report is not public. I recall reading about the rigor mortis but not the lividity. If the lividity was truly on his back, then it does change my speculation!!

Also- there was a lengthy complaint about the use of restraints on the minors there without having appropriate training by staff
 
The private equity firm which I believe owns Trails is associated with a bunch of teen recovery and nursing home businesses. The firm in turn seems to be owned by a wealthy family out of Oregon. I do hope someone takes a good look at the other businesses tied to this firm, as I suspect they share a lot of DNA.
BBM

As an Oregonian, you can imagine that I had to do a deep dive down this rabbit…I mean rat hole. Hoo boy! Corporate America at its “finest,” and I don’t just mean this particular company.

If you Google “who owns Trails North Carolina,” one of the top hits is this website…Family Help and Wellness in Salem, Oregon. It’s hard to tell if they own Trails or if it’s one of their “partnerships” with “owner-operators.” In any case, I will say no more, as I’m sure it would be violating TOS at this point.

Family Help & Wellness currently has 15 programs across five states, each owner-operated to provide the highest quality, personalized care. Our owner-operators are some of the world’s leading experts in behavioral therapy, sought after for speaking engagements and board seats.

Trails NC

JMO
 
<modsnip - quoted post was removed> I assume the parents have an attorney (or four) who have told them not to speak of this awful situation. The lawyers are surely building a whopping lawsuit about the death of the young boy. And they, IMO, need to pursue it ASAP before Trails shuts their whole thing down. Surely -- and IANAL -- they could also sue the individuals who had to do with the death.
 
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Same here -- I assume the parents have an attorney (or four) who have told them not to speak of this awful situation. The lawyers are surely building a whopping lawsuit about the death of the young boy. And they, IMO, need to pursue it ASAP before Trails shuts their whole thing down. Surely -- and IANAL -- they could also sue the individuals who had to do with the death.

It’s also possible the parents had to sign an agreement not to say anything negative about Trails when they applied for their son to attend. Don’t ask me to link this as I’ll never find it again, but one parent said that was required by a camp. She assumed they would sue her.

JMO
 
I had to go to Charlotte NC for an intense 5 day training in the proper ways to restrain. There are two things I learned from that training besides how to safely restrain anyone:
1. I do NOT like to be restrained.
2. Restraining someone is always, always the LAST resort!
I wonder if #2 was known at camp? IMO
 
I had to go to Charlotte NC for an intense 5 day training in the proper ways to restrain. There are two things I learned from that training besides how to safely restrain anyone:
1. I do NOT like to be restrained.
2. Restraining someone is always, always the LAST resort!
I wonder if #2 was known at camp? IMO
IMO if the bivy treatment was generally a first-night thing at that camp, at least on some occasions, it wasn't last resort.

IMO a bivy used indoors would be a restraint system. They are designed for outdoors in the wilderness. Not only that, they would be a very inappropriate restraint system because of the likelihood of something going wrong, e.g. overheating, getting stuck in it if you thrashed around, or suffocating. Plus, the almost certainty that the child was unable to unzip himself....
 
It’s also possible the parents had to sign an agreement not to say anything negative about Trails when they applied for their son to attend. Don’t ask me to link this as I’ll never find it again, but one parent said that was required by a camp. She assumed they would sue her.

JMO

And if that wasn't a red flag....
 
As I think about it, I don't believe I'd put a 12-year-old in a "primitive" wilderness trip of more than maybe 2 overnights. IMO it's too much to expect. And I would head out only in good weather, since newbies are gonna get wet. I suppose they issue them tarps, so staff can see them at all times, but IMO a 12-year-old really isn't up to it. I've sometimes spent 1/2 hour putting my tarp up if there aren't suitable trees, and I somehow doubt that camp was issuing stakes, 'cos they could be weaponized. They'd be tying out the sides of the tarp with rocks, but that's not reliable.

The other reason I'll bet they used tarps: they're cheap.
 
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I had to go to Charlotte NC for an intense 5 day training in the proper ways to restrain. There are two things I learned from that training besides how to safely restrain anyone:
1. I do NOT like to be restrained.
2. Restraining someone is always, always the LAST resort!
I wonder if #2 was known at camp? IMO
It just never ends, does it?
Restraining as a last resort -- Gee, who'd a thunk it?
Was anyone at that place informed about using restraint and that it exacerbates anyone to whom it is done? SMH.
All it does is calm down the person who has done the tying down.
What a way to welcome a new member who is probably already scared out of his or her wits.
 
Hello new friend!

I do you have a link back to where the forensic findings were noted? I assume the autopsy report is not public. I recall reading about the rigor mortis but not the lividity. If the lividity was truly on his back, then it does change my speculation!!

Also- there was a lengthy complaint about the use of restraints on the minors there without having appropriate training by staff
The body position and condition, including the lividity, is here:

 
IMO if the bivy treatment was generally a first-night thing at that camp, at least on some occasions, it wasn't last resort.

IMO a bivy used indoors would be a restraint system. They are designed for outdoors in the wilderness. Not only that, they would be a very inappropriate restraint system because of the likelihood of something going wrong, e.g. overheating, getting stuck in it if you thrashed around, or suffocating. Plus, the almost certainty that the child was unable to unzip himself....

Don't forget that "they" would let the child out of the bivvy bag/the child could not let themselves out ... the zipper being sealed with an 'alarm'. Why would you 'initiate' someone into camp by forcing them to sleep in a sleeping bag within a zip-alarmed bivvy bag on a mat on a floor inside a cabin? I've never heard of that before, but am thinking maybe something like this:


Child was already in rigor when they made the 911 call at 0809hrs. Rigor begins to set in approx 6 hours post-death according to this:
Rigor mortis appears approximately 2 hours after death in the muscles of the face, progresses to the limbs over the next few hours, completing between 6 to 8 hours after death.[10] Rigor mortis then stays for another 12 hours (till 24 hours after death) and then disappears.

If this child was subjected to that, and especially if claustrophobic ... I can certainly see why they experienced a panic/anxiety attack being locked into a bag on a mat on the floor before they've even had time to become accustomed to and familiar with the camp surroundings. IMO, what a "lovely initiation" that is. Petichial hemmoraging. IMO - this child rightly freaked out and was restrained and as the rigor was advanced enough by 8am that his legs were stiffened and bent to the sky - that no 6am check actually ocurred ... and perhaps not even the 3am check. IMO, what ever happened to this child happened shortly after that 12-1230 panic/anxiety attack.
 
Interesting that the PR firm is Lynn. They describe themselves on their website as being associated with the "senior living space":
Lynn Public Relations is an award-winning group of strategic storytellers serving clients across the senior living space, including life plan communities, assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care, short- and long-term rehabilitation facilities, and in-home care, as well as non-profits and small businesses.

The private equity firm which I believe owns Trails is associated with a bunch of teen recovery and nursing home businesses. The firm in turn seems to be owned by a wealthy family out of Oregon. I do hope someone takes a good look at the other businesses tied to this firm, as I suspect they share a lot of DNA.

As an aside... From what I can tell, the woman who was named as Trails' founder was never actually the owner. The business creation docs show a relationship to the PE firm and family I mentioned above. It's possible she was given a minority stake, but based on the paperwork it seems unlikely she ever had full control of the business.
I bet some nursing homes are being placed under some very intensive radar right now!
 
Don't forget that "they" would let the child out of the bivvy bag/the child could not let themselves out ... the zipper being sealed with an 'alarm'. Why would you 'initiate' someone into camp by forcing them to sleep in a sleeping bag within a zip-alarmed bivvy bag on a mat on a floor inside a cabin? I've never heard of that before, but am thinking maybe something like this:


Child was already in rigor when they made the 911 call at 0809hrs. Rigor begins to set in approx 6 hours post-death according to this:


If this child was subjected to that, and especially if claustrophobic ... I can certainly see why they experienced a panic/anxiety attack being locked into a bag on a mat on the floor before they've even had time to become accustomed to and familiar with the camp surroundings. IMO, what a "lovely initiation" that is. Petichial hemmoraging. IMO - this child rightly freaked out and was restrained and as the rigor was advanced enough by 8am that his legs were stiffened and bent to the sky - that no 6am check actually ocurred ... and perhaps not even the 3am check. IMO, what ever happened to this child happened shortly after that 12-1230 panic/anxiety attack.
The staff also claimed 8 am was when they got the campers up, and so that's when they noticed the child wasn't stirring. No way. In a boot camp, you're getting up at 5 or 6. They had to have known earlier. I'll bet death was around midnight, perhaps earlier. We only have staff word for the timing of the panic attack, yes? I'll bet it was earlier.

And where were the other kids? At breakfast? The whole thing doesn't make sense to me. We need to know what time they had breakfast, 'cos then we'd know what time the staff got them up.

IMO The times that were given to LE were designed to reconcile with an 8 am discovery that the child was dead. But I believe the 8 am discovery was fiction.
 
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Don't forget that "they" would let the child out of the bivvy bag/the child could not let themselves out ... the zipper being sealed with an 'alarm'. Why would you 'initiate' someone into camp by forcing them to sleep in a sleeping bag within a zip-alarmed bivvy bag on a mat on a floor inside a cabin? I've never heard of that before, but am thinking maybe something like this:


Child was already in rigor when they made the 911 call at 0809hrs. Rigor begins to set in approx 6 hours post-death according to this:


If this child was subjected to that, and especially if claustrophobic ... I can certainly see why they experienced a panic/anxiety attack being locked into a bag on a mat on the floor before they've even had time to become accustomed to and familiar with the camp surroundings. IMO, what a "lovely initiation" that is. Petichial hemmoraging. IMO - this child rightly freaked out and was restrained and as the rigor was advanced enough by 8am that his legs were stiffened and bent to the sky - that no 6am check actually ocurred ... and perhaps not even the 3am check. IMO, what ever happened to this child happened shortly after that 12-1230 panic/anxiety attack.
If I was a devious child, or just upset, and really wanted to annoy staff, I'd lie in the bivy, and constantly tug on the zipper, so the alarm would be set off. Constantly. While everyone was trying to sleep.

But they actually seemed to have taped the zipper and/or alarm, so staff wasn't going to be roused if the child couldn't get out and needed to. I wonder if they actually had his mouth shut?
 




Or they could just open again with a new name and location like they do in Utah all the time.
IMO:
It's impossible to regulate these camps no matter what new laws say.
Trails Carolina had their state inspections annually and sometimes longer.
The only other time the state goes in is when a complaint is filed and from all the reporting/documents the camp has a certain amount of time to fix whatever and then they leave until next year or the next complaint.
The end game is the state's enable these camps to do whatever the hell they want to and with the kids.
Kids can't call their parents while there to report any abuses and after the kids leave even if they tell their parents I doubt parents follow through with the state and report them.
It's a vicious sadistic cycle and the kids are the victims.

State Laws Aim to Regulate 'Troubled Teen Industry,' but ...


kffhealthnews.org
https://kffhealthnews.org › news › article › state-laws-ai...



Jan 21, 2022 — State Laws Aim to Regulate 'Troubled Teen Industry,' but Loopholes Remain ... Five days after Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed a law meant to provide ...
 
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If I was a devious child, or just upset, and really wanted to annoy staff, I'd lie in the bivy, and constantly tug on the zipper, so the alarm would be set off. Constantly. While everyone was trying to sleep.

But they actually seemed to have taped the zipper and/or alarm, so staff wasn't going to be roused if the child couldn't get out and needed to. I wonder if they actually had his mouth shut?
I'll tell you this much as a parent and grandparent ... any kind of camp that is going to lock my child into a sleeping bag and bivvy so that they can't get out in an emergency situation such as a fire - is not the type of camp where any child should be IMO.

And I've done a whole lot of sleeping in my sleeping bag inside a bivvy; they already lack space for rapid mobility.
 
The staff also claimed 8 am was when they got the campers up, and so that's when they noticed the child wasn't stirring. No way. In a boot camp, you're getting up at 5 or 6. They had to have known earlier. I'll bet death was around midnight, perhaps earlier. We only have staff word for the timing of the panic attack, yes? I'll bet it was earlier.

And where were the other kids? At breakfast? The whole thing doesn't make sense to me. We need to know what time they had breakfast, 'cos then we'd know what time the staff got them up.

IMO The times that were given to LE were designed to reconcile with an 8 am discovery that the child was dead. But I believe the 8 am discovery was fiction.
Thankfully the feds are investigating and not just the local sheriff & co.
 
As a contrast to some of the testimonials that were posted earlier, I thought I'd look up their reviews on Yelp and Google.

Yelp: 17 reviews, average score 2.2
Google: 83 reviews, average score 2.3

Almost all of these reviews were written before the recent death, so it's not just a case of bystanders piling on.

There were only a handful of two to four star reviews (none on Yelp). I'd say about 25-30% of the reviews were five-star while the rest were one-star.
 
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