Nightly News   |  October 13, 2013

Amber Alert remains in effect for N.M. teens

New Mexico authorities continue searching for several teens that were living at ranch for at-risk youth. The ranch says the children are with their parents and this search comes in the midst of an investigation of the camp. The NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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>>> is in effect for five teen boys still missing from a retreat for troubled youth in new mexico . as we first reported last night, the unlicensed program was already under investigation for alleged abuse. now we are getting a clearer picture of those allegations. kristin dahlgren is following the story from hillsborough, new mexico .

>> reporter: from the air and on the ground today, authorities continue to scour the vast new mexico desert looking for the teens and the tierra blanca owner chander. officials came to shut the ranch down. in a statement the attorney said the boys are home with parents and safe. but authorities say until they can verify that the amber alert remains. chandler has been under investigation for alleged abuses at the sprawling rez ranch. residents of the ranch and their families made allegations of terrible abuse calling the camp child slavery. in another report, a runaway is found with leg shackles and another says he picked up mr. could youen from his cuffed hands and slammed his face on the ground.

>> wake them up in the middle of the night , forced to do call less tenics. if you can't do them over kids have to drag or beat you.

>> reporter: parents sent them to the ranch for camp. many not realizing it wasn't regulated. new mexico child and family services say abuse allegations came to its attention in 2012 .

>> at that point, the allegations made were about individuals no longer at the ranch. it didn't fall under protective services.

>> reporter: last week, before disappearing chandler responded to allegations.

>> there's proof in the pudding. everyone wants to make it about credentials.

>> reporter: some teens have come forward to say tierra blanca saved their lives.

>> i'd trust him to hold me on top of the empire state building . no doubt in my mind he would never do anything like that.

>> reporter: we saw state police officials heading to the ranch with binoculars. this is an active search. authorities say they will not cancel the amber alert until they physically set eyes on each of those teens.