Local Haunted House Making Changes after Employee’s Arrest
PROGRESO – Toluca Ranch owners are making changes to their haunted house policies for next Halloween.
A young visitor was hurt and an employee, Gustavo Miranda, was arrested and charged with injury to a child.
The 14-year old boy claims he was hurt during a tour.
Toluca ranch owners said everyone signs a waiver before entering the haunted house. The rules are posted on signs.
A Rio Grande Valley mother told us her son never signed a waiver and owners didn't follow their own rules.
In the Toluca Ranch, haunted house volunteers and actors can scream at you and touch you.
The mother, who wants to keep her identity hidden, claims an employee went too far with her son.
"[An actor] put him in a headlock and left him - marks, bruises, scratches. My son is almost 6-feet tall. He still pulled him out of the ground and threw him outside,’ said the woman.
The mother said her 14-year-old son got separated from his group of friends. He wanted to leave and was placed in this dark room.
She took pictures of her son and filed a report with the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office.
"He is an adult, so de-escalate a situation. Like that was not the way to do it. Not the way to restrain,” said the mother.
Authorities said they conducted an investigation and found enough evidence for a judge to sign a warrant.
Toluca Ranch owner Domingo Gonzalez showed CHANNEL 5 NEWS how employees use restraint.
“We grab them by the hand or guys we grab their belt and pull it like that,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez is defending his employee.
"We apologize that happened but at no moment we meant to harm kid and we didn't hit him or abuse him or punch him. All we did was restrain him and take him out,” he said.
Gonzalez said he's forced to make changes to the rules for next Halloween.
"We're going to make it more horror and we're going to make it 18 and above,” said Gonzalez.
The mother thinks the changes are needed.
"They need to be transparent, transparent and they need to more responsible,” said mother.
Gonzalez explained they plan to install a new camera system. The ones they have were not working at the time of the incident. He added they have witnesses and will try to convince the judge to drop the charges.
We filed a public information request with the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office. We’ll let you know more information when we have a look at the details.
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