Grand Canyon Child Abuse

August 30, 2012
Christopher Carlson, 45, made headlines when he was arrested and convicted on three counts of criminally negligent child abuse after taking his three grandsons, ages 12, 9 and 8 at the time, on a grueling hike in the Grand Canyon. His daughter and the boys’ mother, Tara, says Chris would never abuse her kids. The boys have become wards of the state and placed in temporary custody of their grandmother as a result of the investigation. Is taking the children from their mother in their best interests?






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TaraChrisRobin Woody, Tara's therapist

"Hike from Hell"

Tara says her father, Chris, is an adventurous person who would never abuse her children. So, why is he in prison after taking the kids on a 19-mile hike in the Grand Canyon? Hear his explanation of what happened that day and why, despite Chris' conviction, Tara says she believes the investigation was flawed.



Tara explains why she does not believe her father hurt her kids.  

Hear the list of accusations against Chris, as per the park rangers’ affidavits. 


Dr. Phil corrects Tara's logic. “Hikers die there every year. If it is unsafe for them, they can be taken out of there. You don’t just walk yourself to exhaustion.” 



Chris defends his actions. “These children go at it like cats and dogs sometimes. Sometimes, you have to regulate the situation.”

Dr. Phil offers Chris advice on how he deals with his grandchildren. “I think you need to dial it way, way back.”


Tara describes what life has been like without her kids. Does Dr. Phil agree with the decision to remove them from their mother?