State senator seeks accountability for abandoned youth home | KOB 4

State senator seeks accountability for abandoned youth home

Megan Abundis
Created: January 14, 2020 06:16 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— A security guard for the now defunct Desert Hills youth home was held up at gunpoint Monday night.

The security company the guard works for said four men wearing bandanas pulled up in a white Dodge, held a gun to the security guard’s head then took off in his car.


The thieves didn’t make it very far because they seemingly didn’t know how to drive a stick shift.  The car was abandoned and found with a burned out clutch.

The security guard had no reported injuries as a result of the incident.

State Sen. Jacob Candelaria (D-District 26) said the abandoned youth home is starting to take a toll on the community.

“It's been a long and difficult history for Desert Hills,” Sen. Candelaria said.

The youth home closed last year after facing many allegations of neglect and abuse. CYFD officials issued a cease and desist order to Desert Hills after finding its facilities to be unfit to treat at-risk youth.

Sen. Candelaria said nearby neighborhoods at left to deal with the consequences of Desert Hills.

“They have dealt with ebbs and flows of property crime coming from that facility but in recent months and weeks the problem has sort of come unacceptable,” he said. “It's really calling out for a solution from the private and public sector."

The senator plans to put pressure on those who can make a chance, namely Acadia Healthcare, who owns the building and has put it up for sale.

“I think the private company that continues to own this facility has a responsibility to step up to the plate and make sure this facility, although they are no longer using it, is safe for the neighborhood and it doesn't become a place where even security guards are threatened,” he said.

It is unclear what the building will be. County officials have previously expressed an interest in the facilities, but nothing ever went through.

“The jury is still out on what that property is going to become and that's part of the problem,” Sen. Candelaria said.

In the meantime, the senator has asked APD to increase patrols near Desert Hills.

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