Chained Teen Shows Up at Calif Gym; 2 Arrested

By: Marcus Wohlsen AP
By: Marcus Wohlsen AP

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Police searched for a third suspect Tuesday
in the alleged abuse of a 17-year-old who showed up at a Central Valley gym with a chain locked to his ankle, claiming he had just fled his captors, authorities said.

A husband and wife were booked on torture, kidnapping and child abuse charges after the bruised, terrified teen turned up half-naked Monday at the gym in Tracy, about 60 miles east of San Francisco.

Kelly Layne Lau, 30, and Michael Schumacher, 34, were picked up at their home in Tracy, where the emaciated boy was allegedly held against his will, said Matt Robinson, a spokesman for Tracy police.

Police still were seeking Carin Ramirez, 43, the boy's aunt, on suspicion of participating in the alleged abuse, Robinson said. Ramirez also has an outstanding felony warrant for an earlier alleged assault against the boy, he said.

Schumacher and Lau were set to appear in court Thursday, according to jail records. They were both being held at San Joaquin County Jail on bail of nearly $1.2 million each. A search of the home turned up evidence implicating the couple, Robinson said.

Investigators still were trying to figure out the connection between the couple and Ramirez, who authorities believe visited the home occasionally, he said.

It's not clear how the boy ended up in Tracy; authorities said he ran away last year from a foster home in Sacramento, about 70 miles to the north.

Robinson said the boy was confused when approached by detectives
Monday, unsure where he had come from and how long had been held
against his will. He was 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 had been held for almost a year. Ellis said he looked like he was only 10 to 12 years old.

Robinson said detectives plan to interview the boy more Tuesday
when he is a "little healthier."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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