Original article no longer available
POSTED: 11:46 am PST December 5, 2008 UPDATED: 8:22 pm PST December 5, 2008
Teen Escaped From Tracy Home In Shackles
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A probation officer’s report from last year details a woman’s alleged egregious abuse of two boys, one of whom escaped Monday from a Tracy home in shackles.
Caren Ramirez, 43, was taken into custody Tuesday in connection with abuse of the teen.
Kelly Layne Lau and husband Michael Schumacher, of Tracy, were charged with 13 counts of abuse and former guardian Ramirez, whom the boy called an aunt, was charged with 10 counts.
The boy’s relation to Ramirez is unclear. Authorities had earlier identified Ramirez as the boy’s aunt but said Thursday they had learned she was a family friend that he called his aunt. Probation documents show that Ramirez claims to be the teen’s mother, but the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office said that is not a fact. The office also said that there is no DNA or biological relationship between Ramirez and the teen.
The documents show that the boy, then 13, told officers from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department that Ramirez had used martial arts sticks to spank him.
“He further explained the defendant has also hit him with a spatula, broomstick and a clothes hanger in the past,” the report said.
The report was taken after deputies responded to a child abuse report on May 30, 2006 at a Citrus Heights home.
The teen showed signs of bruising on his buttocks, legs, arms and had a split or swollen lip, sheriff’s deputies said in the document. He also told officers that Ramirez gets angry at times and takes her anger out on him.
The report said Ramirez told officials that she suffers from depression and anxiety attacks and took Zoloft for her condition.
Another boy named in the document, who was 16 at the time, told officers that Ramirez had hit him with a martial arts stick approximately five times in the head. That teen also told officers that earlier that day, Ramirez had told him to “panhandle” for her, and that he started hitting him because he didn’t get enough money.
Ramirez had become the Tracy boy’s guardian after child-welfare officials took him from his abusive father three or four years ago, police said. After Ramirez was arrested on suspicion of abusing the boy, the youth was placed in another foster home, police said.
A CPS worker reported that the boy ran away from the Sacramento Children’s Receiving Home and was missing since May 9, 2007.
Police said Wednesday that the boy detailed his escape from the home, saying he found a brief moment of freedom to slip out the back of the house and jump over a fence that divided the couple’s property with a fitness center. He limped into the gym with a chain shackled to his leg, wearing only boxer shorts and pleading for help. Appearing emaciated and bruised, gym employees contacted paramedics and police.
The teen’s older brother, identfied only as Austin, told KCRA 3 he’ll fight to get full custody of the boy.