Chained teen shows up at Calif. gym; 2 arrested

TRACY, Calif. (AP) âÄî A Girl Scout leader and her husband were arrested after an emaciated, terrified and nearly naked 17-year-old showed up at a gym with a chain locked to his ankle, saying he had just fled his captors, authorities said Tuesday. Police were also seeking the boyâÄôs aunt and had an outstanding felony warrant against her for an earlier alleged assault against the teen. The boy, who authorities said ran away from a Sacramento foster home last year, came into the In-Shape Sports Club in Tracy on Monday wearing only boxer briefs and covered in what appeared to be soot, gym manager Chuck Ellis said. Tracy is about 70 miles south of Sacramento. Ellis said the teen was scared someone was going to come after him and asked to be hidden. âÄúHe said, âÄòDonâÄôt let them get me, donâÄôt let them get me,âÄô âÄù Ellis said. âÄúHe was totally terrified.âÄù The boy said he had been held captive for nearly a year, said Ellis, adding that he looked as if he were only 10 to 12 years old. Police arrested Kelly Layne Lau, 30, and Michael Schumacher, 34, late Monday after questioning the couple. A subsequent search of their nearby home found further evidence implicating them, Tracy police spokesman Matt Robinson said. They were booked on charges of torture, kidnapping and child abuse, and were set to appear in court Thursday, according to online jail records. The couple were being held at San Joaquin County jail on bail of nearly $1.2 million each; county prosecutors did not know if the couple had hired attorneys. Police still were seeking Caren Ramirez, 43, the boyâÄôs aunt, on suspicion of participating in the alleged abuse, Robinson said. Investigators were trying to figure out the connection between the couple and Ramirez, who authorities believe occasionally visited their home. Lau and SchumacherâÄôs four young children, two of whom were home when police arrived, have been placed with Child Protective Services, authorities said. Lau started serving as a local Girl Scout leader sometime in September, after a background check turned up nothing to cause concern, said Pam Saltenberger, chief executive of Girl Scouts Heart of Central California. According to neighbors, the couple seemed to lead lives that revolved around their kids. Jennifer Foster, 33, said she and Lau became acquaintances through their children, who were neighborhood playmates. Foster said she first noticed an older boy with the family about a year ago. âÄúShe told me that he was a nephew that was staying with them because he was having problems at home,âÄù Foster said. The boy was outside frequently, and his appearance never suggested anything unusual was happening behind closed doors, though the last time she saw him was May, she said. Another neighbor said that more recently, the boy looked unwell. âÄúThe last time I seen him, maybe two weeks ago, we were both taking our cans in from garbage days and he was really skinny and pale,âÄù Rachel Portillo said. Robinson, the police spokesman, said the boy was confused when approached by detectives Monday, unsure where he had come from and how long had been held. He was taken to a hospital. âÄúThe victim says he was held against his will,âÄù Robinson said. âÄúWhen you have a 17-year-old boy showing up with a bloody ankle from having a chain wrapped around it, itâÄôs one of those things for officers to put one and one together.âÄù Robinson said detectives plan to interview the boy more Tuesday when he is a âÄúlittle healthier.âÄù