Two residents of J Bar J Boys Ranch east of Bend were arrested on 15 kidnap, menacing and other counts early Wednesday, accused of faking an abduction so they could steal a vehicle from the treatment facility, authorities said.
Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched shortly before 5:30 a.m. to the residential treatment center for 13- to 18-year-olds on Hamby Road on a report of a resident using a makeshift “edged weapon” to try to escape, said Sgt. Tim Leak.
Further information gained through 911 calls indicated a hostage had been taken, and the young suspect was trying to leave in an SUV belonging to J Bar J, Leak said.
When deputies arrived, they found one teen driving and another in the SUV, the sergeant said.
The vehicle stopped and the reported hostage was able to get out, followed by the suspect driver who was held at gunpoint, Leak said.
Sheriff’s detectives called to the scene learned the two boys allegedly had conspired, with one of them acting as a hostage, so they could take the car, Leak said.
No injuries were reported to staff or other residents, Leak said, adding that several edged weapons were recovered that had been used by the teens in their efforts to leave.
Program Manager Amy Fraley said these types of incidents are extremely rare at the ranch.
"Cognitive behavioral therapy, which is what the boys are here for, is challenging, and you put on top of that, that kids are away from home," Fraley said. "So what happened this morning is probably a runaway plan that got out of control. And so we don't have incidents like this very often at all."
Fraley also said all programs went on as planned Wednesday. If there are any residents who want additional counseling for what they saw, that is also available.
The two boys were lodged at the county juvenile detention center on two counts each of first-degree kidnapping, menacing, coercion, unlawful use of a weapon, conspiracy and harassment, and single counts of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, unlawful use of a weapon and interfering with making a 911 call.
Leak told NewsChannel 21 some information was being withheld, including the ages of the suspects and the nature of their makeshift weapons, pending further investigation.
He also said that despite the faked abduction, kidnapping charges were brought due to the sequence of events and actions, involving adults at the facility.
"Even though both of them were arrested for conspiring, there were different situations in which other people were in a kidnap situation," the sergeant said.