Third suspect arrested in Tracy torture case

December 3, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Police say Caren Ramirez is the key to what happened to the 17-year-old boy that was imprisoned and tortured in a Tracy home. Her arrest is the break detectives were hoping for.

"Now that they have Ramirez, they can find out what she knew, and then we can eventually piece it all together and find out, at least at clearer story about what happened to this kid," Tracy police spokesperson Matt Robinson said.

Ramirez, 43, was arrested Tuesday night at an apartment on the 2600 block of College Avenue in Berkeley. Police say she is possibly the aunt of the teenager who escaped Monday afternoon, bruised and battered, wearing only boxer shorts, a chain still wrapped around his leg.

The Tuesday arrest of Ramirez follows that of Michael and Kelly Schumacher. Now all three will be charged with multiple felonies, including torture, kidnapping, false imprisonment and aggravated child abuse. Police say more charges could be added.

"Early indications are that he entered the system due to abuse, and that this isn't the first case, and that some of the people involved may have been involved in prior abusesas well" Tracy Police Chief Rick Golphin said.

Police also have a better understanding of how the boy escaped to a nearby health club, where he walked in filthy, emaciated and confused. They say the boy had been held in the garage of the home but Monday was taken for a ride in a SUV by one of the suspects. When the boy was taken back to the home, he managed to escape through a window and climb over an eight foot wall into the health club's parking lot.

"It was basically luck that this all occurred finally after all this time; the teenager got a break and he took it," Robinson said.

The boy was released form the hospital Wednesday and is in the custody of Sacramento Child Protective Services. The three suspects are scheduled to be arraigned in a Stockton courtroom Thursday.

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