Tuesday, May 31, 2011

John Vincent Garrison - 1990

18 year old John Vincent Garrison ended up at VisionQuest instead of serving his time in the local juvenile detention facility. No information can tell us today whether it was a choice made by the court in order to treat some kind of disorder instead of just doing time. But the decision to choose this kind of alternative sentence turned out to be deadly.

According to the media we have learned that the parents believed that the treatment of this young man by the staff members led him to believe that his life was in danger. He took the decision to escape from the program in an attempt to save his life and he drowned during this attempt.

His parents sued the program. It has not been possible to determine whether they won in court.

Deaths in the 1990s - Fornits Wiki database
VisionQuest sued over teen's death, Lodi News-Sentinel - 3 Jun 1991

Friday, May 27, 2011

Erica Harvey - 2002

15 year old Erica Harvey cooked to death in the wilderness. Despite the fact that the wilderness program marketed themselves as professionals they didn't take into account that the body temperature can change very fast on a medicated person in the harsh wilderness conditions.

Her parents sought help by professionals. They didn't get that. Instead they got their daughter killed by amateurs.

Many years later her mother came forward expressing a hope that the tragedy the loss of her daughter meant her for should not repeat itself for another family. Sadly it was not the case.

Deaths 2000-4, Fornits Wiki Database
Losing Erica: Cynthia Clark Harvey Doesn't Want Anyone Else's Child to Die in a Wilderness-Therapy Program Phoenix New Times, November 5 2009

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Anthony Green - 1991

In the days before research proved that face.down restraints were deadly, 15 year old Anthony Green lost his life when three staff members from Brookhaven Youth Ranch pinned him to the ground.

The sources we have found don't inform us if this tragedy was investigated at all.

All we know are that mother had to live with nightmares about her sons demise.

Years later the boys were suddenly removed when the ranch was inspected and cause to suspect neglect were found. Why it should take so long for action to take place is an unanswered question.

Victims in 1990s, Fornits Wiki database
A mother's grief Woman haunted by son's death at youth home sues Waco-area facility and three staff members, The Dallas Morning News - October 2, 1991
Dallas teens pulled from boys home, The Victoria Advocate - November 10, 1997

Monday, May 9, 2011

Michelle Lynn Sutton - 1990

Michelle Lynn Sutton died on day 7 of what was to be a 63-day program. Michelle collapsed and died of dehydration due to exposure to the elements on a dirt road in Arizona.

Back in 1990 there was no regulation of the wilderness therapy industry. No formal education was demanded by the staff members following the teenagers out in the wilderness. No requirements were demanded by the companies running these operations.

As result anyone could start a business like this a live of the fear and hopes by the parents.

A deadly trap which did cost Michelle her life before she had a chance to live it.

They are in place as we are talking year 2011 and still teenagers continue to lose their lives in the wilderness. The question whether wilderness can be a safe place to heal illness remains to be answered.

Victims in 1990s, Fornits Wiki Database
15 year old hiker died of dehydration at Grand Canyon, The Prescott Courier - May 13, 1990
Michelle Sutton Memorial
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