UPDATE TO - Disgusted with the system: Couple Arrested in Chained Teen Case
Thursday April 2, 2009
Four adults have been indicted on charges related to the torture of a 16-year-old boy who was shackled to a fireplace and made a dramatic escape last December. A California couple, their house guest and a next-door neighbor were indicted for torture, aggravated mayhem, corporal injury to a child, child abuse, false imprisonment and criminal threats.
The four were also indicted for assault with caustic chemicals for throwing corrosive acid on the boy.
Indicted were Michael Schumacher, 34; his wife, Kelly Layne Lau (pictured above), 31; the boy's former guardian Caren Ramirez, 44, a house guest who stayed in their home; and next-door neighbor Anthony Waiters, 30.
In addition to the above charges, Schumacher and Lau were also indicted for endangering their own four children. Ramirez was also indicted on charges of child abduction.
Facing Life in Prison
Three of the defendants entered not guilty pleas Wednesday. Lau, Ramirez and Waiters pleaded not guilty in a San Joaquin County courtroom. Schumacher (left) is expected to enter a plea to the charges later this month. All could face life in prison if convicted.
All four have remained in jail since their arrest in December.
According to police reports, the 16-year-old was forced to live inside a fireplace. He was always chained to the fireplace or a heavy table. He was denied food for days at a time and frequently beaten.
Repeatedly Beaten and Strangled
The boy told police that he was repeatedly hit on the head with a baseball bat, cut with a knife and strangled with a belt until he lost consciousness. He was given pills, alcohol and marijuana to keep him lethargic, he said.
The boy was able to escape after he found a key that fit the lock of his ankle shackle. He unlocked the chains, jumped over an eight-foot backyard fence and ran to a nearby sport fitness club for help.
4 Indicted in Torture of Shackled Teen
Grand Jury Indicts 4 In Tracy Torture Case - Sacramento News Story - KCRA Sacramento
Tracy Press - Grand jury indicts torture suspects
4 Adults Indicted in Torture of Teen in Tracy
Chained Teenage Boy Escapes from Couple's Home
Discuss The Schumacher-Lau Case
Get the Crime & Punishment Newsletter
REFRESH - Go to Home-Page