SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston's city manager said all of the remaining teenagers who thought they were coming to the area to attend an alleged basketball academy left on Monday.
About 16 to 18 teens were found Friday in a two-bedroom apartment sleeping on the floor, said South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens. He said it appears that Daniel Hicks, a South Charleston resident, recruited students from around the world to attend a fictitious prep school.
Two coaches, who asked that their names not be used, also were apparently tricked into coming to South Charleston from Oklahoma and North Carolina.
Hicks said his prep academy is legitimate, and is located on Second Avenue on Charleston's West Side. However, he said the teenagers were brought to South Charleston by a coach without his knowledge.
On Monday, the 7 or 8 boys who were 18 or older were sent with one of the coaches to Oklahoma, said Carlton Lee, South Charleston City Manager. He said the assistant police chief and a police detective rented a van and drove them.
"In all my years, I've never seen anything so crazy," Lee said. "We're keeping track of everything we spend. We got a good deal with Greyhound after explaining the situation and the Ramada graciously put them up for free."
Lee said the teens paid $500 up front to enlist in the academy, and were expected to pay $300 every month. Hicks said his school doesn't accept payment.
Mayor Mullens said an FBI investigation into the matter is underway.
According to the West Virginia Prep Academy website, students have the opportunity to participate in football and basketball. The website claims the school helps players move on to four-year university-level athletic programs.
Hicks told the Gazette about his proposed prep school in April.