ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - New Mexico State Police have canceled the Amber Alert for several teens from a youth ranch for troubled kids as all missing have been physically accounted for by authorities.
Saturday, for the first time, News 13 heard what the owner of Tierra Blanca Youth Ranch has to say about all of this, at at time when police say he's a person of interest.
Saturday night New Mexico State Police said five teens of the nine reported missing, remained on the Amber Alert. Their ages range from 13-17.
The ranch owner's attorney read a statement late Saturday night on camera from his client, Scott Chandler.
"Let it be known that all the youth in question have been safely and successfully returned to their parents by the TBR," said Pete Domenici Jr., Chandler's Attorney.
The ranch is at the center of a Children, Youth and Families Department investigation, after police said former members claimed they were beaten and shackled.
State Police said they've had reports of abuse related to the ranch dating back to 2005. Friday, when law enforcement and social services showed up at the ranch to serve a search warrant, police said no one was there.
That's when police put out an Amber Alert.
Police said they are also looking for ranch owner, Scott Chandler, calling him a person of interest in this case, adding, they want to talk to him.
KRQE News 13 asked police if they believe the disappearance of the kids has anything to do with the current investigation.
"There's just so many reasons and questions that could come up and, the only way to really confirm is to finish this investigation and talk to all who are involved," explained State Police Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez. "Our main priority and our main goal is the safety of these children, so we're going to utilize whatever means necessary to get our point across and to actively investigate this."
Domenici met with members of the media late Saturday night, saying all of teens have been with their parents now for some time, and that parents are trying to get their children off of the alert.
"I'm hearing statements from state representatives, officials, that they are concerned about the safety of those children," said Domenici. "If that is true, why have they not reached out and accommodated these parents to get the information they need and get those children off the Amber list?"
Domenici said the teens' parents have tried to cooperate with state officials and claims the state has not made it easy for them. Ranch officials filed a lawsuit this week against the state, claiming parents have been verbally bullied and threatened by CYFD representatives.
Saturday night, State Police said other parents had contacted state officials.
The Amber Alert has been removed for: Bryce Hall, 17, Mayson Myers, 13, Peter Adams, 16, Oscar Ruiz, 17, and Evan Kogler, 16. Police said authorities have confirmed Ryan Sibbett, 16 and Michael Rozell, 15, Charlie Lamb, 13, and David Easter, 17, are safe with their parents.
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State police say an Amber Alert for five of the nine teens missing from a ranch in Sierra County for troubled teens is still in effect.
Authorities now say two more of the missing boys have been found safely.
Meanwhile the ranch owner’s attorney still insists all boys are accounted for and safe.
Tierra Blanca Ranch has been the subject of a Children Youth and Families Department investigation. State authorities are investigating allegations of abuse at the ranch after former youth residents claimed they were beaten, shackled and handcuffed.
Ranch officials say they filed a lawsuit this week against the state, claiming parents have been verbally bullied and threatened by CYFD representatives.
When law enforcement showed up at the ranch Friday, they found it empty.
They issued an amber alert for nine teens saying they were last seen with the ranch owner, Scott Chandler.
Chandler's attorney wouldn't go on camera, but insists all of the boys are safe.
“I have reliable information to substantiate that statement,” Pete Domenici Jr., the ranch owner's attorney, said. “It’s up to the police and the parents and CYFD and the attorneys to do their due diligence so they're comfortable that they have the proper level of communication and confirmation.”
“Anytime a subject of an Amber Alert has been located, authorities ourselves have to make that confirmation to make sure the child is safe, and that's the bottom line,” Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez said.
The ranch owner's attorney says many of the boys' parents now have attorneys and are working with them to communicate with authorities.
State Police said Saturday afternoon, the Amber Alert is still active for Bryce Hall, 17, Mayson Myers, 13, Peter Adams, 16, Oscar Ruiz, 17, and Evan Kogler, 16. Police said authorities have confirmed Ryan Sibbett, 16 and Michael Rozell, 15, Charlie Lamb, 13, and David Easter, 17, are safe with their parents.
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