ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Nine teenagers are missing from a southern New Mexico ranch for troubled youths after authorities at the ranch were accused of beating and shackling students.
State police spokesman Emmanuel Gutierrez says the officers went to Tierra Blanca High Country Youth Program in Sierra County after ranch officials were ordered to send the kids back to their parents or surrender them to the state.
Authorities said they believed the ranch operators and kids are hiding somewhere on the 30,000-acre ranch.
A spokesman for the state Children, Youth and Families Department said the ranch had 12 students but two went home after the investigation began and one turned 18.
The operators of the ranch, Scott and Collette Chandler, deny any children have been harmed.