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Amber Alert called off for teens missing from New Mexico youth ranch

Oct. 13, 2013 at 11:48 PM   |   Comments

ALBUQUERQUE, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- New Mexico State Police said Sunday evening they had determined all nine teenagers missing from a ranch for troubled youth were safe and sound.

State police said they had canceled the Amber Alert for the last of the boys officials feared had been abducted from the Tierra Blanca Youth Ranch near Hillsboro, KRQE-TV, Albuquerque, reported.

"All children have been physically accounted for by authorities," state police said in a statement released about 5:30 p.m.

An attorney for the ranch had told CNN Sunday the teens who had been the subject of the unusual nine-person Amber Alert were all with their respective families.

The teens had been considered missing since Friday when police showed up at Tierra Blanca with a search warrant while investigating allegations of abuse. Scott Chandler, the director of the ranch, was also nowhere to be found.

But lawyer Pete Domenici told CNN Chandler and the nine teens were on a field trip. "The boys from the Tierra Blanca Ranch have been on a previously scheduled activity away from the ranch for several days," Domenici said, adding the youths had been safe with their families for a few days.

Tierra Blanca Youth Ranch was described as a 30,000-acre facility where counselors work with at-risk youths. Chandler has denied allegations that residents had been beaten and threatened.

The TV station said Chandler had issued a statement through Domenici that they sued the state for improprieties in its handling of the investigation.

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