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Teen Challenge escapees in Georgia


Two Teen Challenge escapees caught
by Walter Geiger, Pike County Georgia, December 30. 2010


Pike authorities have apparently captured two young men who escaped Thursday morning from the Teen Challenge facility off Hwy. 19 South in Pike County.

One resident of the area spotted the pair in his pasture. He confronted them and they told him they lived nearby and were taking a shortcut home. One was wearing khaki pants. Neither was wearing the orange jumpsuit required of new inmates at the facility.

Radio traffic described one of the escapees as 'aggressive' and indicated the pair were headed north.

PJR reporter Rachel McDaniel went to the area and saw a Pike patrol car headed back to Zebulon with two young males detained in the back seat.

Teen Challenge has been a flashpoint of public criticism due to multiple escapes and allegations by neighbors of a lack of security at the facility.

More on this story as it develops.


Any news on what did happen to them?

The escape doesn't seem to be a single incident. We found these articles:

Teen Challenge escapee arrested at residence
by Walter Geiger, Pike County Georgia, May 24. 2010

Another teen escaped from Teen Challenge early in the morning Monday, May 24. The 16-year-old white male from Blackshear was taken into custody at a home on McCorkle Curve Road in Upson County after residents said they kept him occupied by allowing him to make phone calls to his parents and girlfriend. Six teenagers have now escaped from the facility in the year it's been open.

Chief Deputy Dan Kilgore of the Upson County Sheriff's Office said they were alerted of the teen's escape around 1 a.m. and were patrolling the county line area when they received a call from a resident about the teen.

"It was around 3:40 a.m. when we got the call," Kilgore said. "They said a juvenile showed up and asked to use the phone at their house."

The teen was transported by officers to the Pike County Sheriff''s Office and turned back over to Teen Challenge counselors.

Jan Ogletree lives down the mountain from Teen Challenge in Upson County and she says her husband was on the front porch when he spotted the teen in their yard. She said he is lucky he did not get shot.

"Since they've been up there, I keep my front door locked day and night," she said. "I knew something wasn't right by the way he was dressed. He told me he was 21 years old but it was obvious by his appearance that he wasn't. He told me he had shot a person when he was younger."


Teen Challenge runaways captured
by Walter Geiger, Pike County Georgia,  April 24. 2010

Sheriff Jimmy Thomas has confirmed two juveniles are in custody after they fled the Teen Challenge facility here Friday night.

They were found hiding in a school bus after an all night search.

A golf cart and motorbike were taken from a neighbor's house and recovered nearby. One had a dead battery and the other was out of gas. The juveniles are thought to have stolen the items.


Teen Challenge boys escaped and now returned
by Walter Geiger, Pike County Georgia,  April 9. 2009

Two juveniles who reside at Prayer Mountain Teen Challenge in Meansville have been returned after leaving the premises Wednesday.

The youths were reported missing around 5:30 p.m. Pike County deputies heavily patrolled the area looking for them. A lookout was also issued to surrounding counties, according to investigator David Neal.

They were found by 9 p.m. in Upson County and brought to Pike by Upson County deputies. They were returned to Teen Challenge, Neal said.

"They just ran away and were picked up," he said.

The juveniles were from out of state, he added.

Teen Challenge won its nearly three year battle to operate a boarding facility, school and ministry for troubled teen boys in Pike County and was granted a special expception at the Jan. 27 meeting. The facility is on a 36-acre property on Highway 19, formerly the location of The Church at Grace Hill. The land is also part of what is called Prayer Mountain.

Approval came with stipulations. Teen Challenge Prayer Mountain Boys Academy shall accept boys ages 13-18 only, and no student over 18 shall be allowed to reside there. Additionally, if any student is convicted of committing bodily harm on any citizen of Pike County while enrolled or in residence at the academy, commissioners may reconsider the special exception allowing its operation as per the zoning ordinance criteria.


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