Thursday, June 18, 2009

Teen in Tracy torture case was burned by lighter fluid, bleach, doctor testifies

Caren Ramirez keeps her head down, during her arraignment in Judge Cinda S. Fox's courtroom at San Joaquin Superior Court in Stockton, Calif., on Monday, Dec. 8, 2008. She is among three suspects charged with abusing and torturing a teen inside a Tracy house. Fellow suspects Michael Luther Schumacher and his wife Kelly Layne Lau also appeared in court. (Cindi Christie/Staff)

By Mike MartinezSan Joaquin Herald
Posted: 06/15/2009 04:27:05 PM PDT
Updated: 06/16/2009 09:31:52 AM PDT

TRACY — A teenager who was held captive in Tracy for more than a year was burned by soaking in lighter fluid, had his wounds treated with bleach, and was left with scars from improperly treated wounds, according to doctors who testified before a grand jury in March.

The boy, referred to as Kyle in court documents, was admitted to Shriner's Hospital in Sacramento after he escaped in December. He was treated for burns on his arm that weren't healing, and he received skin grafts on his left arm in an effort to prevent limitations on his mobility.

When he was seen by doctors, they determined his wounds were at least two to three weeks old, and they could have been older.

A pediatrician who specializes in child abuse and neglect cases at UC Davis Medical Center said she was summoned to Sutter Tracy Community Hospital on Dec. 3 to examine a child in intensive care. While testifying before a grand jury in March, Dr. Angela Rosas said the boy had so many injuries, she couldn't remember them all unless she consulted her notes

"On his head he had very short hair so you could actually see a lot of the scars and injuries that he had on his scalp and his face,'' Rosas said. "He had multiple old scars on the top of his head that were — some of them were just starting to heal, some of them were very old. Those were the top of his head — the very top of his head.''

The boy also had scars from burns on his back, and unhealed

cuts and burns on his arms, legs and torso. The boy also suffered scars around his wrists and ankle from being bound with zip ties and a heavy metal chain, the doctor said.

Four adults — Kelly Layne Lau, 31; her husband, Michael Luther Schumacher, 34; Caren (pronounced Car-men) Ramirez, 44, a family friend who said she was the boy's aunt; and a neighbor, Anthony Vincent Waiters, 30 — were indicted on torture, false imprisonment, criminal threats and multiple counts of aggravated mayhem and corporal injury to a child in connection with the case. If found guilty, they could all spend the rest of their lives in prison.

They are scheduled to San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton on Thursday.

The case attracted national attention when the emaciated, filthy, bloody and bruised boy stumbled into a Tracy fitness center and begged for help on Dec. 1, He wore only boxer shorts and a 3-foot-long chain shackled to his ankle .

The boy, who is now living in the Sacramento area, has reportedly gained more than 50 pounds since his ordeal ended.

Lau, Ramirez, and Waiters all pleaded not guilty to a 17-count indictment by a San Joaquin County grand jury, while Michael Luther Schumacher postponed entering a plea until his attorney reviews witness transcripts from the grand jury investigation.

Kyle told the grand jury that he was given almost no food, and that he was given liquor— the only liquid he would get for long periods of time — as often as every day and to the point he would vomit.

He said Ramirez once held him down while Waiters sliced into his forearm with a knife. To treat his wound, they poured bleach on his arm, then slathered on butter with salt before dressing it.

He said his head was cut open with a flashlight, but doesn't remember who did it because ``at that time that they were using it a lot.'' He was never taken to a doctor.

``I had to go wash my head off in the hose outside, and then they would like pour on salt and butter, I guess, because that's Carmen's way of healing up a cut,'' he told the jurors.

Kyle told the grand jury they would often brand him with an aluminum bat that was used for stirring a fire in the fireplace. He said one time, he was choked with a belt until he lost consciousness, fell and his hand landed on the grate in the fire place.

Reach Mike Martinez at 209-832-3947 or

Teen in Tracy torture case was burned by lighter fluid, bleach, doctor testifies - San Jose Mercury News

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