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

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​

The kids were removed to a Carolina Trails property in Pisgah Forest. I had to look it up, since I was confused, knowing I’d hiked through Pisgah National Forest, and it was further west. It turns out, there’s a town called Pisgah Forest.

The BLM advisory would apply mostly to camp activities out west, where BLM land generally is. IMO However, other federal agencies may have parallel concerns.

We ought to be keeping these 3 agencies separate in our minds IMO:
—National Park Service (NPS), Department of Interior. Think the BIG parks like Yellowstone and the Smokies, and smaller parks of historical interest, major trails like the AT, and some roads, like the Natchez Trace.
—National Forest Service (USFS), Department of Agriculture (USDA). These carry the name in a format: e.g. Green Mountain National Forest. Thousands of federal campgrounds in these acreages. Mostly vast tracts of forested areas, often in elevated environments, but not always. All over the US. Think: woods, recreation, ski areas, hiking trails, cabins on leased land… Some are very restricted, and designated “Wilderness areas”.
—Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Department of Interior. These were historically lands that were from railroad companies or stolen from Native Americans. Think, especially, wide open spaces out West. These days, many are grazed by roaming cattle. There are also campgrounds.

In western North Carolina, we’ll mostly be dealing with USFS. There’s also the Smokies, which is a National Park.
 
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The kids were removed to a Carolina Trails property in Pisgah Forest. I had to look it up, since I was confused, knowing I’d hiked through Pisgah National Forest, and it was further west. It turns out, there’s a town called Pisgah Forest.

The BLM advisory would apply mostly to camp activities out west, where BLM land generally is. IMO However, other federal agencies may have parallel concerns.

We ought to be keeping these 3 agencies separate in our minds IMO:
—National Park Service (NPS), Department of Interior. Think the BIG parks like Yellowstone and the Smokies, and smaller parks of historical interest, major trails like the AT, and some roads, like the Natchez Trace.
—National Forest Service (USFS), Department of Agriculture (USDA). These carry the name in a format: e.g. Green Mountain National Forest. Thousands of federal campgrounds in these acreages. Mostly vast tracts of forested areas, often in elevated environments, but not always. All over the US. Think: woods, recreation, ski areas, hiking trails, cabins on leased land… Some are very restricted, and designated “Wilderness areas”.
—Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Department of Interior. These were historically lands that were from railroad companies or stolen from Native Americans. Think, especially, wide open spaces out West. These days, many are grazed by roaming cattle. There are also campgrounds.

In western North Carolina, we’ll mostly be dealing with USFS. There’s also the Smokies, which is a National Park.
Thank you for the articulate clarification.

There's no way these camps could ever be monitored for safety unless the fed/state governments put their own inspectors in these camps on a full time basis, 24/7.
Which is a pipe dream.
 
Since he was found outside of the sleeping bag/bivy, we actually don’t know what his sleeping arrangements were the night/morning he died. I do think it’s most likely he WAS in the sleeping bag/bivy; however, we can’t assume that’s true.

There are quite a few in the story. The two counselors who stood against the wall, watching, while the boy had a panic attack. Did they just stand there for hours and hours and hours and hours? Did they leave at some point? The way the story is laid out, it sounds as though they stood there against the wall watching him for hours. So did they leave? Did they go to sleep?
 
Since he was found outside of the sleeping bag/bivy, we actually don’t know what his sleeping arrangements were the night/morning he died. I do think it’s most likely he WAS in the sleeping bag/bivy; however, we can’t assume that’s true.

There are quite a few in the story. The two counselors who stood against the wall, watching, while the boy had a panic attack. Did they just stand there for hours and hours and hours and hours? Did they leave at some point? The way the story is laid out, it sounds as though they stood there against the wall watching him for hours. So did they leave? Did they go to sleep?
It might be easier to make a case for the bivy being used than for the sleeping bag. LE clearly saw the bivy, but makes no mention of the sleeping bag.

I'll bet the staff didn't stand near the wall for long. I would speculate that the child "soon fell asleep", but actually, he had died already. This theory matches the degree of rigor and the wake up time. I speculate an actual cabin wake up time of 5-6 am.
 
Thank you for the articulate clarification.

There's no way these camps could ever be monitored for safety unless the fed/state governments put their own inspectors in these camps on a full time basis, 24/7.
Which is a pipe dream.
Yes. But IMO it also gets more complicated for a place like Carolina Trails because all their activities are on private property, so the "wilderness" aspect of the program has no scrutiny.

The state should be doing frequent surprise inspections, though.

I look at the yurts, tarps, clothing, all that stuff as completely inadequate, and not providing basic human needs. I doubt kids were fed appropriately on the trail. A real bed and nutritious dinner that has to be purchased with good behavior is child abuse. This would be a great start for inspectors: where do they sleep, what do they wear, are they warm and dry, is there enough and appropriate food. These are standard DCF measures for ALL the children they oversee.
 
2015 article:

'Some programs offer to treat nearly every teen behavior imaginable, including low self-esteem, lack of motivation, trouble with teachers, poor grades, depression, confrontational or defiant behavior, substance abuse and addiction, sexual acting out, defiance toward authority, lying, manipulative behavior, entitlement, and/or video game addiction.

They enroll children with almost any learning disability or mental illness, including ADHD, ADD, Asperger’s Syndrome, bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, sexual behavior problems, reactive-attachment disorder, non-verbal learning disorder, anger management, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), developing personality disorders, and/or trouble with the law. They often assess a child's needs using nothing more than a questionnaire on the program’s web page—and then recommend immediate enrollment in their program.

Astonishingly, the “treatment” offered is almost identical for all the above conditions: a rigidly-controlled environment, strict discipline, a “levels system” of behavior change, and confrontational “transformation therapy.”

Accepted standards of treatment and plain old common sense suggest that this one-size-fits-all form of tough love “treatment” cannot possibly be suitable for children with all these different issues, disabilities and illnesses.'




 
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.


Parents like this should be charged. MOO
 
2015 article:

'Some programs offer to treat nearly every teen behavior imaginable, including low self-esteem, lack of motivation, trouble with teachers, poor grades, depression, confrontational or defiant behavior, substance abuse and addiction, sexual acting out, defiance toward authority, lying, manipulative behavior, entitlement, and/or video game addiction.

They enroll children with almost any learning disability or mental illness, including ADHD, ADD, Asperger’s Syndrome, bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, sexual behavior problems, reactive-attachment disorder, non-verbal learning disorder, anger management, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), developing personality disorders, and/or trouble with the law. They often assess a child's needs using nothing more than a questionnaire on the program’s web page—and then recommend immediate enrollment in their program.

Astonishingly, the “treatment” offered is almost identical for all the above conditions: a rigidly-controlled environment, strict discipline, a “levels system” of behavior change, and confrontational “transformation therapy.”

Accepted standards of treatment and plain old common sense suggest that this one-size-fits-all form of tough love “treatment” cannot possibly be suitable for children with all these different issues, disabilities and illnesses.'





Exactly. If they want to be treated like a mental health facility, then the owners should be criminally charged for abusing the mentally ill and every counselor and therapist should be sued for malpractice and there should points against their license to practice.

Can you imagine if adults with ADHD or adults who got fired from their job were whisked away in the dead of night against their will, their rights and basic necessities stripped, what would happen? Heads would roll. When and why did we decide that children are second-class citizens???

MOO.
 
The kids were removed to a Carolina Trails property in Pisgah Forest. I had to look it up, since I was confused, knowing I’d hiked through Pisgah National Forest, and it was further west. It turns out, there’s a town called Pisgah Forest.

The BLM advisory would apply mostly to camp activities out west, where BLM land generally is. IMO However, other federal agencies may have parallel concerns.

We ought to be keeping these 3 agencies separate in our minds IMO:
—National Park Service (NPS), Department of Interior. Think the BIG parks like Yellowstone and the Smokies, and smaller parks of historical interest, major trails like the AT, and some roads, like the Natchez Trace.
—National Forest Service (USFS), Department of Agriculture (USDA). These carry the name in a format: e.g. Green Mountain National Forest. Thousands of federal campgrounds in these acreages. Mostly vast tracts of forested areas, often in elevated environments, but not always. All over the US. Think: woods, recreation, ski areas, hiking trails, cabins on leased land… Some are very restricted, and designated “Wilderness areas”.
—Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Department of Interior. These were historically lands that were from railroad companies or stolen from Native Americans. Think, especially, wide open spaces out West. These days, many are grazed by roaming cattle. There are also campgrounds.

In western North Carolina, we’ll mostly be dealing with USFS. There’s also the Smokies, which is a National Park.
Pisgah Forest is a community outside of Brevard. It has a convience store and a couple of churches last I drove through.
 
The body position and condition, including the lividity, is here:

Thank you!

"CJH had Lividity settled into his back when he was examined by Detectives Shook and Gonce. They also noted possible petechial located ni the lips and possible eyes. They noted a extended vain on his neck and possible bruising around the eye. Once they roled the body, CJH began ot foam at the mouth, which could've indicated that he ingested some sort of poison."

It could be a minor detail but it's interesting that it almost seems like they are saying they noticed this lividity before they rolled him over. Being that he is reported to have had a sweatshirt on, I don't know if they noticed it on his bottom area and generalized it being the "back" or if they noticed it once they rolled him on his side.

That is a great point, though. It definitely raises far more questions in my mind if he did truly have lividity clearly along his back
 
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​

1708286291995.png
 
View attachment 484311
This is not a treatment, mental, behavioral camp.

This is an all boys "extreme adventure" camp, since 1920's. They focus on extreme adventures.

My GKs go to a NC coastal camp, very similar. Classes teaching skills, testing proficiency, before moving to the next level.
End goal, camper man, 2 week ocean sailing voyage, senior year.

Moo
 
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.
The vast majority of bivvy bags are one-poled. Two-poled bivvy's are rare. I'll believe LE.

Given the statements from LE observatons and counsellor's points in the documents released thus far:

- The child was forced to sleep within his sleeping bag within a bivvy bag that was on a mat (air matteress??) on the floor of the cabin exactly as all other kids had to endure their first night there;

- Counsellors attempt to wake the child and cannot - (well ... because he's dead);

- Counsellors have to get the child out of the bivvy as it is alarmed and as counsellors stated they had to let the kids out of the bags due to the alarm;

- Counsellors unlock the alarm and pull the child out of the seeping bg & bivvy bag after 'discovering' he is non-responsive; it (bivvy and sb) then gets tossed off to the side so they can go to work on ... ;

- Counsellors then apparently "attempted live saving measures" (the kid needs to be out of the bivvy and SB for that to happen) as an AR mask and CPR were found on the child by first responders;

- Child found on back with AR mask on, frozen stiff with rigor and cold (and also IAW description of "he's very cold already" given by the 911 caller) and with his knees pointed to the sky.


All of which points me to (IMO):

- This child panicked, had an anxiety attack, when locked into his alarmed & tight "sleeping quarters" for the night. Probably around 1230hrs;

- This child was then restrained while locked in that bag by *someone*;

- This child managed to curl themselves into the ever-protective fetal position while undergoing that restraint;

- This child died due to that interaction;

- *Someone* finally figured the child was still and was no longer panicking or freaking out and went about their business leaving the dead child curled into the fetal position within their locked-bivvy prison;

- Perhaps they checked at 3 and 6 am and the child seemed to be sleeping - because of course they could not actually "lay eyes-on" the child within the locked bivvy, but hey, the kid wasn't moving (because the were dead);

- They go to wake up the child and ... realize he's actually deceased;

- Pull him out of his prison, attempt CPR ("on the already "he's very cold already" child) by turning him onto his back (ergo rigored legs now pointed upwards towards the sky). Effective CPR measures can only heppen when one is chest-up;

- while someone calls 911 ... and apparently actually hangs up.

ALL IMO of course, but it fits with what's been divulged so far in the documents released.
 
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This is not a treatment, mental, behavioral camp.

This is an all boys "extreme adventure" camp, since 1920's. They focus on extreme adventures.

My GKs go to a NC coastal camp, very similar. Classes teaching skills, testing proficiency, before moving to the next level.
End goal, camper man, 2 week ocean sailing voyage, senior year.

Moo
Yeah, they are not locking kids into bivvy bags for the night there.
 

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