On Wednesday, February 29th an Arizona jury found Christopher Alan Carlson (pictured) of Indianapolis, IN guilty of child abuse. He was found guilty on three of the six child abuse charges that had been filed against him after an agonizing hike on August 15th and 28th. Carlson, 45, took his three grandsons ages 8, 9, and 12 at the time, on a 19 mile hike in 108 degree weather. Charges were filed after a Ranger who was spotting the area with his binoculars witnessed the abuse. At the trial, the three boys testified that their grandfather took them on these hikes to get them into better shape. The eldest grandson testified on court that his grandfather would throw rocks, push them, whip them, and beat them on both hikes. When questioned about how much food or water they received, the boys testified that they were allowed to eat celery and drink little water.
The eldest grandson also testified that he had secretly asked a passerby to call 911 on the August 28th hike because he was throwing up after he fell down because of cramping and experienced changes in his vision. “I needed medical attention, and I was hurting, and he was hitting and pushing me and calling me fat. I was scared and it was hard and I was all wear and tired and kind of hurt.” Carlson threw a rock at the eldest child’s face because he was not moving fast enough. “I started crying and walking faster, and he kicked me in the butt and said, ‘Run,’” stated the boy.
The middle grandson testified that the worst part of the trip was when he threw up at the bottom of the canyon and also the damage done to his feet from the severe blistering. All three boys testified at the trial saying their grandfather was in a hurry to get to the top of the mountain in order to see the sunset.
Luckily, a ranger who was spotting the mountain with his binoculars saw Carlson shove and whip the oldest boy and immediately called for more help. Rangers then fed and gave the boys water after one showed signs of a heat stroke while the other two showed signs of heat exhaustion and dehydration. At the trial, a nurse who attended t the boys at the hospital stated that all three of them had severely chafed thighs because Carlson did not let them wear underwear. Carlson is set to be sentenced on June 1st.
How a grandparent could ever think that torturing his grandchildren would make them more physically fit is beyond me. I also have to question the mother in this situation. How did she not see the bruises and blisters on the first hike on August 15th and not say anything then? If she was aware of her children’s injuries then it seems to me that she was negligent toward taking care of her children. I was not able to find any more information on whether or not charges had been filed against her or if she even knew about the situation.
It is very unfortunate that these three boys had to go through such a horrible ordeal at such a young age, but it is also a blessing that the abuse was stopped before Carlson could have hurt the children further. We can only hope that these children will be able to move on from the emotional and physical scarring that a trusted family member had inflicted upon them.