Trial starts in kids' forced Grand Canyon hikes

AMANDA LEE MYERS Associated Press Published:

PHOENIX (AP) -- A federal trial has begun in Phoenix for an Indiana man accused of forcing his grandsons to hike in the Grand Canyon without food or water in brutal August heat.

Christopher Alan Carlson, of Indianapolis, has pleaded not guilty to six counts of child abuse.

His grandsons were 12, 9 and 8 years old at the time. They told investigators that Carlson hit, pushed, choked and squeezed them during trips into the canyon.

On the day park rangers spotted what would be the last of the hikes, the temperature hit 108 degrees, and a man died on another trail from heat exposure.

Investigators say Carlson later told them that the boys were overweight and that he thought hiking the Grand Canyon would help get them into shape.