Caleb Hill, arrested for child abuse

Nye County investigates boarding school

AMARGOSA VALLEY (FOX5) --  Nye County Sheriff's Office arrested a teacher who works at Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley.  

Caleb Hill, 29, from Pahrump, was booked into the Nye County Detention Center and charged with child abuse, neglect or endangerment. 

A former student told investigators Hill was abusive. 

"The juvenile described being assaulted and slammed by Caleb on several occasions. The juvenile described being picked up by Caleb and being thrown to the floor," Nye County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Adam Tippetts said. 

Apparently, Hill didn't deny it. 

"Caleb acknowledged that this tactic was against school policy," Tippetts said. 

When detectives went out to the school, they found even more victims. On Friday, the Sheriff's Office released a video of deputies helping someone down the stairs. The faces are blurred but a cast on the person's right leg is clear. 

"Detectives spoke with students who claimed they had injuries and broken bones generally toes for which they were refused medical care."

Northwest Academy staff members told Nye County detectives they had received “Mandt” training, a de-escalation tactic used to defuse a situation, using hands-on tactics as a last resort, Hill's arrest report said. The staff trainer said he and the program director had spoken with hill after a Jan. 4 incident, and said they were aware of three complaints against him.

After being read his rights, Hill admitted to going hands-on with students several times, including one 14-year-old who received bruising and one 15-year-old who received a bloody nose, according to the arrest report.

Hill said the students had not been responsive to verbal commands, so he put them on the ground, the report said.

FOX5 asked the Sheriff's Office if Hill caused the injury. They said they couldn't comment on an ongoing investigation. 

Northwest Academy is a private boarding school for at-risk teens between 12 and 17 years old. The school is located about an hour-and-a-half away from the Las Vegas Valley. 

On their website the schools claims, "We work with troubled teens in a kind, caring and non-invasive manner." 

While detectives were interviewing students and staff, they discovered something else. 

"Multiple juveniles reported rashes that had developed on their skin," Tippetts said. 

Detectives added the teens were taking showers and drinking water contaminated with arsenic and other toxic substances.  Doctors came to the school to examine the students and told detectives their rashes were linked to the contaminated water. 

Detectives took students' blood and hair samples to test for arsenic and "other harmful substances they may have been exposed to while houses at Northwest Academy," officials said.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the school knew for several years the water was contaminated. Deputies determined that was why they gave students some water. The Sheriff's Office said they were limited to "three small bottles of water per day." 

The property operates and owns wells. The school was treating the water for arsenic and fluoride but stopped treating the water in 2016, according to officials. In November, the Nevada Department of Environmental Detection determined the arsenic in the water was three times higher than the standard drinking level. 

The school was given a deadline of Dec. 31, 2018 to fix the problem. According to deputies, school officials didn't. FOX5 called Northwest Academy Friday night and school officials said they did not have a comment and referred us to their lawyer. 

School officials also did not say if the water has been fixed, but they mentioned the campus is still operating normally.

The Sheriff's Office said that decision was made by the Division of Child and Family Services, as well as The Department of Health and Human Services. 

Investigators from the Sheriff's Office said they would continue to comb through "lots of evidence" as more teachers or staff face possible charges.  

Copyright 2019 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved 

FOX5 Multimedia Journalist

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.