REVEALED: NC ‘wellness’ camp where boy, 12, died is a ‘cruel’ boot camp for troubled youths and charges parents $10k-a-month as counselors swear at kids and refuse to let them shower – as it emerges another child died from hypothermia while ‘running away’

A North Carolina ‘wellness camp’ where a 12-year-old boy died has been described by fellow participants as ‘beyond cruel’.

Trails Carolina, a camp for “troubled youth,” is under scrutiny after an unnamed pre-teen died at the facility on Saturday.

Former participants who went to the camp in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, described conditions as ‘inhumane’.

It also made headlines in 2014 when 17-year-old Alec Lansing died of hypothermia after running away from the camp.

Talk to WBTV in 2021, Kathleen Reilly explained how she was awakened during the night by her father who informed her that she would be taken to the camp.

Kathleen Reilly explained how she was woken during the night by her father who informed her that she would be taken to the camp in 2012

Kathleen Reilly explained how she was woken during the night by her father who informed her that she would be taken to the camp in 2012

17-year-old Alec Lansing, seen here, ran away from his group on a field trip in November 2014 and died of hypothermia.

17-year-old Alec Lansing, seen here, ran away from his group on a field trip in November 2014 and died of hypothermia.

Jeremy Whitworth (pictured) is the co-executive director of Trail Carolina Camp, based in North Carolina

Jeremy Whitworth (pictured) is the co-executive director of Trail Carolina Camp, based in North Carolina

Reilly was 16 at the time of the ordeal, which took place in 2012, and recalled how a man and woman dragged his restrained frog out of her family home.

Speaking to the outlet, she said: ‘The man said get up, you’re going camping.

‘Then he said we can do it the easy way or the hard way and he has restrictions and he said the police have been notified that you are a danger to yourself and others. If you run, I will tackle you. Your flight leaves in two hours.’

After being taken to the airport and flown to North Carolina, she was accepted into the program, which can cost more than $30,000 for a three-month stay.

Reilly said she went into the wilderness for weeks without access to showers or basic hygiene.

She recalls: ‘Once we went 17 days without showering. We were denied basic hygiene all the time.

‘It’s just, it was, again… ‘it’s just part of the process, yeah, I’m in the woods. It’s just not normal.

‘It is not humane. What it does to your brain, you still don’t even want to admit to it. It’s just like it’s still there and they have that power over you.’

Another participant, who spent three months at the camp in 2017, shared an experience similar to Reilly’s.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: ‘There was a lot of shaming.

Reilly was 16 at the time of the ordeal and recalled how a husband and wife dragged a restrained frog out of her family home.

Reilly was 16 at the time of the ordeal and recalled how a husband and wife dragged a restrained frog out of her family home.

Reilly said she went into the wilderness for weeks without access to showers or basic hygiene

Reilly said she went into the wilderness for weeks without access to showers or basic hygiene

‘Kwot on, ‘therapy’ revolves around building resilience through, you know, physical hardship, sort of like a military boot camp or like seal training or something.

“But the problem was, you know, there are still safety measures in those kinds of environments. Not here.

The person said staff will restrict access to the bathroom during the weeks in the bush.

He recalled to the outlet that he had to defecate in his pants, and was then forced to wear the same pair for two weeks.

Former worker Jonathan Hyde also told the outlet that he worked at the camp in the summer of 2020 and raised issues about training staff to deal with the children.

He said: ‘I had children who were vocally suicidal. I had children who tried to run away. I had kids who would try to fight you.

‘One of the issues with the place is that the people who spend most of the time with them are not trained therapists.’

According to Hyde, he only had three days of training before he was sent into the forest with participants.

Former worker Jonathan Hyde worked at the camp in the summer of 2020 and raised issues about staff training to deal with the children

Former worker Jonathan Hyde worked at the camp in the summer of 2020 and raised issues about staff training to deal with the children

The company's website says they are 'committed to helping teenagers work through behavioral or emotional issues'

The company’s website says they are ‘committed to helping teenagers work through behavioral or emotional issues’

Former participants who went to the camp in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, described conditions as 'inhumane'

Former participants who went to the camp in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, described conditions as ‘inhumane’

Previous investigations by WBTV in the center also showed that inspection reports by the state cited deficiencies between 2010 and 2019.

Among those violations were citations for improper handling and administration of medication.

The camp was also cited for failing to protect participants from harm, abuse, neglect or exploitation.

One of those citations was related to the death of 17-year-old Alec Lansing who ran away from his group on a field trip in November 2014.

Investigators believe Lansing climbed a tree and fell into a stream, breaking his hip which immobilized him.

His body was found 12 days later after he went missing, still lying in the creek. The report into his death showed staff waited five hours before calling for help.

Due to citation, Trails Carolina was fined $12,000 but allowed to proceed.

On Saturday, a 911 caller reported that a 12-year-old was not breathing at the camp with rescue efforts beginning at the scene.

Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office said the unnamed pre-teen, with his parent’s permission, was transported to the camp by two men from New York on Friday.

Police said rescue efforts were started at the scene and then stopped because the child appeared to be dead for some time.

“The child was sent to Winston Salem for an autopsy as his death appeared suspicious since he arrived at the camp less than 24 hours before his death,” police said.

On Saturday, a 911 caller reported that a 12-year-old was not breathing at the camp with rescue efforts beginning at the scene.  Facilities within the facility are seen here

On Saturday, a 911 caller reported that a 12-year-old was not breathing at the camp with rescue efforts beginning at the scene. Facilities within the facility are seen here

Images shared by the center show the accommodation for those staying at the camp

Images shared by the center show the accommodation for those staying at the camp

The forensic pathologist told inquests the death did not appear to be natural, but the manner and cause of death were still pending.

The sheriff’s office said, “Trails Carolina Camp has not been fully cooperative with the investigation.”

Investigators were granted two search warrants for separate locations of the camp on Tuesday.

One location is the camp where the incident took place and the second location is where the other campers who were in the cabin at the time of the boy’s death were moved to.

The camp told the police that the staff members at the cabin where the incident took place have been placed on leave.

A spokesperson for Trails Carolina said: ‘We are devastated by the tragic loss of a young life and our deepest sympathies are with the student’s family and loved ones.’

‘Our priority is to recognize and respect the unfathomable impact on their lives and maintain the integrity of the investigation into the cause.

‘We are fully cooperating with investigators and have retained outside professionals to assist us in conducting our internal investigation.’

According to the camps website, their mission is to give children the confidence, coping mechanisms and communication skills that will help them become the best version of themselves

According to the camps website, their mission is to give children the confidence, coping mechanisms and communication skills that will help them become the best version of themselves

According to the camp’s website, their mission is to give children the confidence, coping mechanisms and communication skills that will help them become the best version of themselves. Wilderness therapy costs between $600 and $1,000 a day.

Led by Associate Executive Director Jeremy Whitworth, the camp offers wilderness therapy programs for teenage boys (10-13), teenage girls (10-13), teenage boys (14-17) and teenage girls (14-17).

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement: ‘While we cannot comment on ongoing or potential investigations, Trails Carolina has notified the NCDHHS Division of Health Services Regulation of a client’s death on February 3.

‘We express our sympathies to the person’s family and friends.’

DailyMail.com has reached out to Trails Carolina for further comment.