Georgia 19-year-old allegedly "hazed and tortured" by juveniles, police say
A Georgia teen searching for friends was allegedly "hazed and tortured" by a group of teens at parties on affluent St. Simons Island during two separate incidents, police said.
Trenton Lehrkamp, 19, was water-hosed and bound to a chair unconscious while he was covered in spray paint, according to pictures circulating on social media and Glynn County police. After the second incident on March 21, Lehrkamp ended up connected to a ventilator in the intensive care unit at Brunswick-area hospital fighting for his life.
At a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, Interim Glynn County Police Chief O'Neal Jackson said that 11 juveniles participated in the water hosing and 9 juveniles participated in the chair incident. Some juveniles participated in both incidents, he said.
Jackson said the incidents were "revealed on social media." Graphic images posted on Facebook show Lehrkamp unconscious and bound to a chair with four boys standing behind him. Some are giving the middle finger to the camera. A video shows Lehrkamp in a chair with his head down while someone is spraying him with a water hose.
Jackson said that police have identified all the juveniles involved in the two incidents.
"There were lots of juveniles at these incidents and nothing was spoken while it was occurring," said Jackson, who believed the hazing might have never been reported if the "victim didn't end up in the hospital."
The FBI and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are assisting with the investigation but Jackson cautioned the public "not to rush to judgment." No charges have been filed or arrests have been made, police said, and the investigation is ongoing. The police might not be able to secure hazing charges, he said, because the events didn't happen in connection with public institutions.
Lehrkamp, 19, was picked up from his house last Tuesday evening expecting to have a "casual night out with friends," friends wrote on a GoFund me page set up to pay for medical expenses.
Hours later, around 8:30 p.m. local time, a white Jeep four-door Wrangler pulled up to the local hospital emergency room, according to a police report. Three teens got out and said Lehrkamp, who was in the back seat became unresponsive after drinking vodka and taking antidepressants, according to a police report.
He was breathing shallowly, his clothes were soaked in urine and he had spray paint all over his body and hair, the police report said. There was a small bruise on his shoulder, the police report said. The teens wrote down their names and numbers before leaving, the police report said.
Medical staff said Lehrkamp could not breathe independently, so they placed him on a ventilator, the police report said. His blood alcohol level was at .464, the report said. The legal BAL in Georgia is .08.
His father arrived at the hospital and told police that there were other incidents.
On March 17, Lehrkamp came home covered in WD-40, vomit, paint, glue and egg yolk, a police report said. His father said Lehrkamp always comes home distressed and "never returns normal" but keeps going over to hang out with the teens because he has no other friends and thinks the teens "accept and care for him," the police report said.
Hundreds of supporters gathered to demand justice for Lehrkamp on Monday night, according to local media.
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