Two arrested, one sought for teen's torture

December 2, 2008 8:09:55 PM PST
A 17-year-old boy is resting comfortably Tuesday night in a Tracy hospital, one day after escaping from what police believe was some kind of torture chamber. The boy had been missing for a year, after running away from a Sacramento group home. "There's times you'd see him, and then times a whole month, no show," neighbor Rachel Portillo said. Portillo lives across the street from where the boy was held captive.

"He was only supposed to stay here just a little bit of time, and then months went by and he was still here," Portillo said. "And I kept wondering, why isn't he in school?"

The boy escaped Monday afternoon and made it to a nearby health club. He was wearing only boxer shorts, had scratches on his face and body and a chain wrapped around his right ankle.

"A very large chain, it was like one inch loops, about a three-eighths inch steel, went around and the two pieces where it came together they had it padlocked, and from there it went up about twelve to 18 inches in length," health club manager Chuck Ellis said.

Police are still trying to sort out the details, but they believe the boy may have escaped from a car.

Police have arrested Michael and Kelly Schumacher and charged them with five felony counts: torture, kidnapping, conspiracy, child beating and false imprisonment. There were four other children living in the house, believed to be the Schumacher's children; none had been abused but they have been taken into protective custody.

Tracy police do not yet know why the boy was at the house or how long he was held captive, but it is clear he was abused.

"He had bruises to his body, he was bleeding, he had a chain around his body, he was emaciated," Tracy police spokesperson Matt Robinson said.

Police are still looking for a third suspect, the boy's aunt, 43-year-old Caren Ramirez. She will also likely face felony abuse charges. It is believed that Ramirez may have gone to East Palo Alto, where her brother lives.

Ramirez at one time had custody of the boy, but he was removed from her home when she was charged with beating him.

"For a human being to look that way, or someone else to do that to another human being, it's almost hard to comprehend to be treated that's way," assistant health club manager Lea Leonardo said. "It's almost hard to imagine that someone would do that to this kid."


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