State police are searching for nine teenagers missing from a ranch that was being investigated for abuse.
State police spokesman Emmanuel Gutierrez says the officers went to The Tierra Blanca High Country Youth Program for troubled teens in Sierra County after it was ordered to send the kids back to their parents or surrender them to the state.
Program operator Scott Chandler has denied any wrongdoing, accusing investigators in a lawsuit of illegally interviewing students and telling parents to pull their children from the program or face abuse charges.
The filing also states that Gov. Susana Martinez was among those who called parents, an allegation her office denies. The ranch sought an emergency hearing to halt the probe.
Gutierrez says more than 50 officers are searching the 30,000-acre ranch.
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