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Indictment: Group shackled, tortured teen

  • Story Highlights
  • Four accused of kidnapping 16-year-old boy and torturing him for nearly a year
  • Anthony Waiters, Caren Ramirez, Kelly Lau, Michael Schumacher indicted
  • Documents: Teen was tortured with a bat, knife and belt
  • Teen escaped in December, fled to fitness center only wearing boxers, shackle
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SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) -- Four Californians are accused of kidnapping a 16-year-old boy and torturing him for nearly a year before he escaped captivity wearing only boxer shorts and a shackle on his ankle, according to an indictment released Wednesday.

Anthony Vincent Waiters, 34; Caren Ramirez, 43; Kelly Layne Lau, 30; and her husband, Michael Luther Schumacher, 34, were charged with a slew of offenses, including torture, aggravated mayhem, child abuse and false imprisonment by violence that allegedly occurred from January 2008 to December 2008.

Authorities said the teen was shackled in the home of Lau and Schumacher in Tracy, about 65 miles east of San Francisco. During his captivity, the teen was tortured with a bat, knife and belt, according to court documents.

The teen escaped December 1 and walked into a fitness center about 500 feet away from the home. He was bruised and battered, wearing only boxer shorts and with his bloody ankle shackled, police said.

The four also face a new charge -- assault with caustic chemicals. The indictment accused the defendants of attacking the teen with "vitriol, corrosive acid, flammable substance and caustic chemical with the intent to injure the flesh and disfigure the body of the said victim."

The 17-count indictment was handed down by a San Joaquin County grand jury on March 23. Lau and Schumacher being held on a $2.26 million bail, while Ramirez and Waiters are being held without bail, a jail official said Wednesday.

The judge has issued a gag order in the case prohibiting attorneys on either side from speaking publicly.

Lau, Ramirez and Waiters all pleaded not guilty to the charges, but Schumacher, Lau's husband, postponed entering a plea until his attorney, John Casanave, has an opportunity to review transcripts from the grand jury investigation, the San Joaquin Herald reported Wednesday.

The boy initially had been removed from his parents' custody in Sacramento, California, by social workers because of abuse and was placed with Ramirez, a family friend, police said. The teen was sent to a group home after Ramirez was charged with felony abuse against him, but he escaped the group home about 18 months ago, police said.

Authorities believe the boy at some point returned to Ramirez. It's unclear how the teen got from Ramirez's home to the home in Tracy where he was allegedly abused.

Soon after the news of the teen's escape broke, Lea Leonardo, assistant manager of the gym, told CNN the boy came into the building and begged her to hide him.

"He was very dirty. He looked very young, very skinny and was wearing nothing but men's oversized boxers," Leonardo told CNN's Nancy Grace. "He was terrified."

CNN's Samira Simone contributed to this report.

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