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

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 problem is you wouldn't know that they had your kid restrained in a bivy.
I hadn't even thought of emergencies and fires.(scream)
 
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.
Here's the 28 reviews from Yelp that weren't recommended, from your link.
Oh, and Graham Shannonhouse chimes in.

 
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.
So, this is some speculation while in the shower…

The child was found on a sleeping pad. This means he was not on a sleeping bag or a bivy. He had to have been moved.

I don’t believe the deputy saw the bivy set up, because if he did, he’d use “end” instead of “side”. I believe he saw the poles folded into a bundle (this leaves room for @Dotta ‘s two-pole bivy), and he saw the material of the bivy, enough to notice that the zippers were taped off, and a child would not be able to exit. Staff said the child was in a sleeping bag, but the deputy doesn’t say anything about seeing it. I believe it’s debatable whether staff gave the child a sleeping bag at all, or he soiled it, so they chucked it.

Recall upthread I gave a safety tip to parents who have sleeping bags their kids will “grow into”, and I said to tie the end off, so the child can’t scooch down into the end and suffocate. Sleeping bags sleep cold if they’re too long, too. I’m guessing staff used some kind of restraint system on that bivy. Otherwise, how are the child’s arms going to end up folded on his chest? But what if they also tied off the end of the bivy, and that’s why his knees were bent? It would be like short-sheeting it. It would prevent him from kicking. He might be able to stamp on the floor, but he wouldn’t be able to unbend his legs. From this situation, IMO you could easily get into positional asphixia.

Or, if his arms were restrained (e.g. by wrapping cord around the bivy), He could have scooched down into the bag, bending his legs, and got suffocated, or, in thrashing around, his neck got hung up on restraints designed to bind his arms. That would strangle him.

I hope LE searched that property inside and out, so they know exactly what was going on.
I can’t visualize how the child ended up the way he was found unless there was binding wrapped around that bivy.
 
Here's the 28 reviews from Yelp that weren't recommended, from your link.
Oh, and Graham Shannonhouse chimes in.

Thanks for pointing that out. I had inadvertently left on a filter that only displayed the five star reviews. I updated the Yelp link to fix that.
 
Here's the 28 reviews from Ye lp that weren't recommended, from your link.
Oh, and Graham Shannonhouse chimes in.

It’s pretty common for businesses to create accounts for their owners or managers (on Yelip and Goog and I imagine elsewhere) and then hand them off to agencies or low level employees to manage the page and responding to reviews and inquiries.
So while the account is under Shannonhouse’s name, it wouldn’t be unusual for other people to have access and for comments to be written by other people.
 
So, this is some speculation while in the shower…

The child was found on a sleeping pad. This means he was not on a sleeping bag or a bivy. He had to have been moved.

I don’t believe the deputy saw the bivy set up, because if he did, he’d use “end” instead of “side”. I believe he saw the poles folded into a bundle (this leaves room for @Dotta ‘s two-pole bivy), and he saw the material of the bivy, enough to notice that the zippers were taped off, and a child would not be able to exit. Staff said the child was in a sleeping bag, but the deputy doesn’t say anything about seeing it. I believe it’s debatable whether staff gave the child a sleeping bag at all, or he soiled it, so they chucked it.

Recall upthread I gave a safety tip to parents who have sleeping bags their kids will “grow into”, and I said to tie the end off, so the child can’t scooch down into the end and suffocate. Sleeping bags sleep cold if they’re too long, too. I’m guessing staff used some kind of restraint system on that bivy. Otherwise, how are the child’s arms going to end up folded on his chest? But what if they also tied off the end of the bivy, and that’s why his knees were bent? It would be like short-sheeting it. It would prevent him from kicking. He might be able to stamp on the floor, but he wouldn’t be able to unbend his legs. From this situation, IMO you could easily get into positional asphixia.

Or, if his arms were restrained (e.g. by wrapping cord around the bivy), He could have scooched down into the bag, bending his legs, and got suffocated, or, in thrashing around, his neck got hung up on restraints designed to bind his arms. That would strangle him.

I hope LE searched that property inside and out, so they know exactly what was going on.
I can’t visualize how the child ended up the way he was found unless there was binding wrapped around that bivy.
Page 9 in the warrant,

"Mr. Hunt described how at approximately 12:00-12:30 am, CJH began to experience a panicattack. Him and another counselor stood along the wall while CJH was experience panic andhigh anxiety. Mr. Hunt did not mention if he or other counselors attempted to assist CJH with‘any easement during his anxiety attack. Ms. Hunt also mentioned that CJH could exit the bivvyat any time, but he when he describe any interaction with CJH he kept stating “we” would open or close the bivvy. Mr. Hunt also explained that CJH was checked on at 12:00 am, 3:00 am, 6:00am, and was found dead'


Link for warrant in article.
 
This is another teens alleged experience with Trails Carolina in Lake Toxaway.

Kathleen Reilly woke up in the middle of the night in late July 2012 to hear her dad say he loved her and that these people would take care of her now.

She was 16 at the time and had no clue what was going on. The first thing she did, she recalled, was reach for her phone on her nightstand. It was gone.

A second later, a man and woman came into her room dressed in a uniform.

“The man said get the *advertiser censored** up, you’re going to camp,” she recalled in a recent interview.

“Then he said we can do this the easy way or the hard way and he had restraints and he said the police have been notified that you’re a danger to yourself and others. If you run, I will tackle you. Your flight leaves in two hours.”

That was Reilly’s introduction to a wilderness therapy program.


She was whisked to the airport and flown to North Carolina, where she would become a participant at Trails Carolina, in Lake Toxaway, N.C.

 
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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
Thank you Lilibet, caught my eye as well then saw
Utah!
My suspicions increased
 
I downloaded a copy of the recent complaint against Trails Carolina re: sexual assault and a host of other negligence (imo) from Pacer. The complaint case # is 1:24-cv-46

Sharing it here as it has a lot of information about the complex web of ownership, as well as the horrific conditions at the program (also defines the "burrito" mentioned earlier in thread)
 

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I downloaded a copy of the recent complaint against Trails Carolina re: sexual assault and a host of other negligence (imo) from Pacer. The complaint case # is 1:24-cv-46

Sharing it here as it has a lot of information about the complex web of ownership, as well as the horrific conditions at the program (also defines the "burrito" mentioned earlier in thread)
I've only skimmed through that and it's pretty horrifying, imo.
 
This has been tough to read about. I come from a wealthy family with ADHD and generally stubborn or defiant personalities. Some of my close family members are dead or ruined because of programs like these. I can't send my son to public school because of this mindset that any unwanted behavior can or should be trained out of a person.

Are you saying you personally had several close family members sent to camps like these and one of them died at a "camp?" Was there an investigation by LE? What was the end result ? I understand if you don't want to share details, though, and I am sorry for your loss.
 
I downloaded a copy of the recent complaint against Trails Carolina re: sexual assault and a host of other negligence (imo) from Pacer. The complaint case # is 1:24-cv-46

Sharing it here as it has a lot of information about the complex web of ownership, as well as the horrific conditions at the program (also defines the "burrito" mentioned earlier in thread)
Thanks!
I scanned it and had read the recent article when she filed the suit.
iirc: A prior complaint had been filed when she was a minor and then withdrawn now the young woman is of age and she refiled the complaint?

Hopefully this is the beginning of others coming forward and filing their abuse charges against the camp.
There appears to be quite a few online groups of people who had been forced into these hell hole camps as minors including Trails so it would be great if a law firm issued a clarion call to action and to contact them with their abuse claims.

Individual or class-action filings, this could be the beginning of a game of Dominoes.
 
I agree, the time of death was earlier. Moo, the counselor, peek in the bivy, as not to wake him, thought the child was sleeping. The death was discovered when they awoke the kids that morning.

It's not the "camps version" but an actual statement from the counselor interviewed and is in the search warrant. Who discover the him around 7:30 ish.

Moo

I'm wondering if your assertion that the counselor peeked into the bivy earlier and presumed the child was asleep holds true.

At 6:00 AM, an hour and 45 minutes before discovering him deceased, rigor mortis had already set in. How could he have been in a position with his legs up in the bivy at 6:00 AM? Considering the dimensions of a bivy, it seems implausible. Therefore, at 6:00 AM, it's hard for me to believe the counselor wouldn't have been concerned.

Furthermore, were the underclothes already removed and placed beside him by 6:00 AM?

The shame and embarrassment of having those items forcefully removed is incomprehensible. Regardless of the challenges this child presented, I am deeply saddened for him and what he must have endured. He deserved compassion, empathy, and his dignity respected.

*I apologize for any redundancy if these points have already been discussed; I'm catching up on the story four days late.
 
Doesn't Trails Carolina have a camp/? in Pisgah National Park which is where they immediately removed the 3 boys to that were in the cabin when the 12yr old boy died?

This is from 2008 so the Dept.of Land Management was aware back then of kid's safety being at risk.

Health and Safety of Participants Attending Wilderness Therapy Programs or Residential Treatment Programs for Troubled Youth on Public Lands​

 
Basically the fed govt gives these wilderness camps carte blanche to do or not do as they like.

"Because of the heightened concerns about wilderness therapy or residential treatment programs for troubled youth, the following special requirements pertain to permitting their operation on public lands:
The BLM will only permit wilderness therapy programs to use public lands in states that assume primacy in the regulation and oversight of treatment plans, living conditions and health and safety of the participants and that oversee the programs through periodic inspections in the field. Because of the wide variation of state requirements for these programs, each state office must determine state licensing requirements and regulations.

 
Thanks!
I scanned it and had read the recent article when she filed the suit.
iirc: A prior complaint had been filed when she was a minor and then withdrawn now the young woman is of age and she refiled the complaint?

Hopefully this is the beginning of others coming forward and filing their abuse charges against the camp.
There appears to be quite a few online groups of people who had been forced into these hell hole camps as minors including Trails so it would be great if a law firm issued a clarion call to action and to contact them with their abuse claims.

Individual or class-action filings, this could be the beginning of a game of Dominoes.
There are actually two similar young women. The one I shared just recently filed for the first time.

The other one you are thinking of is 1:22-cv-00042-MOC-WCM (dismissed by father, attached)
 

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And then refiled by the survivor, and currently going through a LOT on a very active docket ever since (1:23-cv-00020-WR-WCM)

Plaintiffs all do appear to all have the same attorney, so at least a small step towards trying to get justice! Maybe there will be the class action at some point that you envision. I sure hope so.
 

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Doesn't Trails Carolina have a camp/? in Pisgah National Park which is where they immediately removed the 3 boys to that were in the cabin when the 12yr old boy died?

This is from 2008 so the Dept.of Land Management was aware back then of kid's safety being at risk.

Health and Safety of Participants Attending Wilderness Therapy Programs or Residential Treatment Programs for Troubled Youth on Public Lands​

I. read the article. It prohibits/limits the use of public lands to states providing oversight, defines over site = State License Agency

Bottom line, only licensed state agencies may use public lands, for wilderness program activities.

This prevents rogue, unlicensed camps, from using cabins, recreational facilities,etc. Licensed camps are welcomed.

Yes, they have a camp in/near
Pisgah Forest. Not all lands is government owned, much is privately owned, and residential.
Pisgah Forest, is over 500,000 acres, 87k government owned (purchased Vanderbilt estate).


 
Basically the fed govt gives these wilderness camps carte blanche to do or not do as they like.

"Because of the heightened concerns about wilderness therapy or residential treatment programs for troubled youth, the following special requirements pertain to permitting their operation on public lands:
The BLM will only permit wilderness therapy programs to use public lands in states that assume primacy in the regulation and oversight of treatment plans, living conditions and health and safety of the participants and that oversee the programs through periodic inspections in the field. Because of the wide variation of state requirements for these programs, each state office must determine state licensing requirements and regulations.

Again, only State licensed agencies.
Only 1/5 Pisgah Forest is government land the rest is privately owned.

Trails, is North Carolina license as a treatment center. They would be camp to use the "park".

All federal parks/forrest have very stringent rules, require registration/fees for overnight camping, use of swimming, cabins, recreational shelters. Federal park rangers are federal government employees, and have federal authority to enforce all federal laws.

Moo...
 
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I downloaded a copy of the recent complaint against Trails Carolina re: sexual assault and a host of other negligence (imo) from Pacer. The complaint case # is 1:24-cv-46

Sharing it here as it has a lot of information about the complex web of ownership, as well as the horrific conditions at the program (also defines the "burrito" mentioned earlier in thread)
I’ve been thinking all along that there’s overlap between the bivy and “burritos”, which is also the LE term for a restraint system used on folks who aren’t being cooperative.
 

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