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Grandpa charged with forcing Grand Canyon hikes

Sep 1, 2011 9:16:00 PM - thestate.com
An Indiana man forced his three young grandsons to hike 18 miles in triple-digit heat at the Grand Canyon and denied them food and water, authorities said.

Christopher Carlson, of Indianapolis, remained jailed Thursday on six counts of child abuse. The boys, ages 12, 9 and 8, told investigators that they had been hit, pushed, choked, pinched and squeezed during trips on a popular trail at the canyon's South Rim last month.

On the latest hike over the weekend down the Bright Angel Trail, temperatures reached 108 degrees at Phantom Ranch along the Colorado River. A ranger spotted the group with binoculars on the trail and saw Carlson shoving the oldest boy and whipping him with a rolled-up T-shirt, authorities said.

National Park Service Special Agent Chris Smith testified that Carlson told authorities that the boys had been overweight and that he thought the hike would get them into shape.

"He told me that he loved his grandchildren very much, but at the same time there were tough people in the world and his grandchildren needed to be tough as well," Smith said.

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