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For week ended December 12, 1999 Posted 18 Dec 1999

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LDS RM Recovers from Wilderness Attack (Last of Runaway Teens in Custody)

Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS RM Recovers from Wilderness Attack (Last of Runaway Teens in Custody)
Salt Lake Tribune 9Dec99 D2
By Kelly Kennedy and Greg Burton: Salt Lake Tribune

BERYL JUNCTION, UTAH -- An LDS Returned Missionary serving as a youth counselor to a program for wayward youth, is unharmed after the eight youths he and a co-worker were leading on a wilderness camping trip overpowered them and escaped. Kirk "Marty" Stock was beaten with juniper sticks and bound with duct tape along with his co-worker, BYU student Sunshine Fuller. Both Stock and Fuller were otherwise unharmed and all eight youths have been found and accounted for.

Stock and Fuller took the eight 14- to 17-year-old boys on the wilderness excursion as part of the Red Cliff Ascent program, which seeks to help wayward teens gain self confidence. One of the boys persuaded the others to attack Stock and Fuller, tie them up and escape. The counselors had suspected that something was up, and tried to take precautions. "They were following all of their training, and what they did kept the situation from escalating further," said Red Cliff's field supervisor Mitch Cole. "There will be a lot more wariness on the staff from now on, but there won't be any changes made."

After the escape, Stock and Fuller managed to free themselves and get to another Red Cliff camp, where they alerted authorities. By Wednesday, all the boys had been found, some cold, hungry and dehydrated. Fuller says she doesn't think that they were in any real danger from the boys, "They didn't want to hit me, and I don't think they wanted to hit Marty, either. That wasn't their intent," said Fuller. "A lot of them were apologizing while it was going on, saying it wasn't personal."

Stock says that in spite of the situation, he insisted that they boys do what is right. "I stick to my guns," he said. "I'm immovable on what I think is right, but I'm always progressing."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information