North Carolina health officials remove children from troubled wellness therapy camp


North Carolina officials have decided to remove all the children in the care of a nature-based therapy program for kids following the death of a 12-year-old New York boy. 

The state Department of Health and Human Services on Friday said all the children will be removed from Trails Carolina, and all new admissions have been suspended. 

“While the investigation is ongoing, and we cannot comment on specific details, it was determined that action needed to be taken to ensure the health and safety of the children,” the agency said in a news release. 

PRETEEN BOY DIES 1 DAY AFTER ENROLLING IN CONTROVERSIAL NORTH CAROLINA THERAPY CAMP: ‘SUSPICIOUS DEATH’

The forensic pathologist conducting the autopsy told investigators the 12-year-old’s death appeared to not be natural, but the manner and cause of death are still pending. (Trails Carolina)

The parents were notified about the decision by health officials and the children will be temporarily taken into the care of the Transylvania County Department of Social Services, authorities said. Health officials did not say how many children were taken from the program. 

In a letter from the state Department of Health and Human Services to Trails Carolina, the agency said the suspension of new admissions will remain in effect through April 14. 

“The Secretary has determined that the character and degree of conditions at Trails Carolina are detrimental to the health or safety of the children in your care,” Chief Deputy Secretary Mark Benton wrote. 

In response to the move by state health officials, Trails Carolina said parents were “intimidated” into picking up their children, FOX Carolina reported. 

CHARGES FILED IN MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF COLLEGE STUDENT LEFT ON SIDE OF ROAD

Trails Carolina

A 12-year-old boy died at a North Carolina wilderness camp last weekend, just one day after he checked in to the controversial facility. (Trails Carolina)

“The children were receiving high-level clinical care for complex mental health diagnoses requiring experienced professionals with full knowledge of critical medications and specialized treatment regimens. Normally, locating alternative programs and matching children for placement takes several weeks,” the organization said in a statement. “This negligent and reckless move by the State denied parents the opportunity to continue to care for their children in the appropriate manner. 100% of parents did not want their children to leave the program.”

The Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office executed two search warrants as part of its investigation into the boy’s death less than 24 hours after he enrolled in the nature program. The warrants include affidavits revealing the shocking scene first responders encountered when they arrived Feb. 2. 

The boy was lying face up in a CPR position on the floor of a bunk house, authorities said. His knees were bent, his arms were on his chest and his body was “cold to the touch,” the warrant stated. Detectives also noted discoloration of the boy’s skin and possible bruising near the eyes.

Map of Lake Toxaway

A 12-year-old boy was found dead at a wellness therapy camp in North Carolina last week, one day after he was enrolled in the program, according to multiple reports. (Google Maps)

Camp counselors told detectives they didn’t know why the boy wasn’t wearing pants or underwear.

“Once they rolled the body, [the boy] began to foam at the mouth, which could’ve indicated that he had ingested some sort of poison,” the warrant said.

Authorities said Trails Carolina “has not completely cooperated” with the investigation. The group previously told Fox News Digital that the warrant contained misleading statements.

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“There are details we will not address at this time out of respect for the family and the investigation that is still underway,” the group said. “Children were moved from the area to protect them from seeing what was happening, not to avoid investigators. We are a mental health facility treating children with severe, complex mental health diagnoses. Not moving children from the area would have harmed their mental well-being.”

Fox News Digital’s Stepheny Price contributed to this report. 




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