Aunt of Shackled Teen Arrested in NorCal Torture Case

A third suspect wanted in the alleged abuse of a 17-year-old in Tracy is in custody.

A Tracy police spokesman says Caren Ramirez was arrested by Tracy and Berkeley officers around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday after police received a tip she was in Berkeley.

Tracy police spokesman Matt Robinson says the 43-year-old Ramirez is the boy's aunt.

The case started to unfold when the boy showed up at a gym Monday afternoon with a chain locked to his ankle. He told gym personnel he had just fled his captors.

Police began looking for Ramirez after arresting 30-year-old Kelly Layne Lau and 34-year-old Michael Schumacher. Lau and Schumacher are being held on bail of nearly $1.2 million each after being booked on suspicion of torture, kidnapping and child abuse.

Details of Boy's Escape

The 17-year-old boy stole a moment away from the watchful eyes of his captors to climb out a window in their home and jump a backyard fence in search of help, police said.

Authorities said Wednesday that interviews with the boy were making details of his escape clearer.

The boy detailed his getaway to investigators saying he had been chained inside a sport utility vehicle that pulled up to the home, and after going inside, he climbed through a rear window and jumped the tall fence between the backyard and a fitness center.

"He found his opportunity and he took it. It's basically luck that this all occurred," Tracy police spokesman Matt Robinson said.

The bruised and half-naked teen showed up at a gym with a chain locked to his ankle, claiming he had just fled his captors. Robinson said authorities believe the teen was held against his will in Tracy -- a city about 60 miles east of San Francisco -- after he ran away from a Sacramento foster home in 2007.

Robinson said the emaciated boy was confused when first approached by detectives Monday, unsure where he had come from and how long had been held against his will. He has been taken to a hospital.

"The wounds he had and his physical condition as well as having a chain around his leg corroborated his basic statement that he was being held against his will," Robinson said.

Chuck Ellis, a manager of the In-Shape Sports Club, said the boy came into the fitness center Monday afternoon wearing only boxer briefs, covered with what appeared to be soot. Ellis says the teen was scared someone was going to come after him and asked to be hidden.

"He said, 'Don't let them get me, don't let them get me,'" Ellis said. "He was totally terrified."
Ellis said the teenager told him he was picked up after running away from the foster home to look for his family and that he was held for almost a year. Ellis said he looked like he was between 10 and 12 years old.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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