Man Convicted of Abusing Grandchildren During Hike

In Inside the NPS

This incident didn’t take place in Yosemite but it’s interesting none the less. A grandfather hiking in Grand Canyon National Park was found guilty of 3 counts of child abuse after he deprived his grandchildren of food and water during a hike and physically and verbally abused them.

On August 28, 2011, rangers responded to the Bright Angel Trailhead to contact a man hiking with three children. Upon making contact with the party, the children informed rangers that their grandfather, Christopher Carlson, had been depriving them of food and water and physically and verbally abusing them along the hike. Rangers learned that Carlson had taken his three grandchildren to the Colorado River and back that day, a 20-mile hike. Recorded temperatures in the shade reached 107 degrees.

Rangers requested the assistance of special agents with the Investigative Services Branch. A cooperative investigation between ISB and rangers was begun and Carlson was arrested. ISB continued the investigation, working collaboratively with rangers and the United States Attorney’s Office.

A trial spanning three weeks began on February 15th in the US District Court in Phoenix. On Wednesday, February 29th, the jury found Christopher Carlson guilty of three counts of felony child abuse. Carlson remains in federal custody awaiting sentencing in June.

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