Thursday, December 4, 2008

Trio Charged in Abuse of Teen Boy in Tracy

A California couple and the one-time guardian of a boy who escaped his captors earlier this week, were charged today with kidnapping and torturing the teen, a boy that authorities describe was sometimes kept shackled inside their home and abused with a baseball bat, belt and knife.

Kelly Layne Lau and husband Michael Schumacher were charged with 13 counts of abuse, and former guardian Caren Ramirez, whom the boy labeled as an aunt, was charged with 10 counts.

According to the San Joaquin County District Attorney's office, the trio were also charged with corporal injury to a child, child abuse and aggravated mayhem. The three could receive life sentences if they are convicted.

The boy escaped from the couple's home in Tracy on Monday and fled with a chain still attached to his foot to a nearby fitness center. Employees at the fitness center took him and called authorities, who later arrested the couple at their nearby home. Ramirez was later arrested in the Berkeley area.

Lau, 30, and Schumacher, 34, are being held on $2.2 million bail, while Ramirez, 43, is being held at the county jail.

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