Boys ranch owner denies abuse claims

DEMING, N.M. (KRQE) – The owner of a youth ranch facing a lawsuit alleging abuse is now responding.

The family of 18-year-old Bruce Staeger, who died after a car crash at Tierra Blanca, claims it was the result of carelessness and abuse.

They also claim that before his death Staeger was abused by being forced to eat horse dung and had jalapeno pepper juice poured into his eyes in the name of discipline.

Now that Chandler has seen the lawsuit, he’s issued a statement saying in part, “we are saddened by the loss of Bruce. We are also extremely saddened at the attempts of unknown parties to make totally outrageous claims of abuse that many others know to be false. We are saddened at the attempts to mislead Bruce’s family.”

Chandler says Staeger chose to stay in the program because he held it in such high regard. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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