Three adults who starved, tortured and burned a teenage boy will spend the next 30 years prison.
The adults persuaded Kyle Ramirez, who was 16 and living in a children's home, to move into their home in Tracy, Calif., in December 2008. His aunt and legal guardian, Caren Ramirez, 45, was living there at the time. So were Michael Schumacher, 36, and his wife Kelly Lau, 32.
Instead of a safe home, Kyle instead found a living hell. He was chained to a coffee table by his leg. Anthony Waiters, a neighbor, helped Schumacher, Lau and Ramirez cut Kyle's arm and pour bleach into the wound.
Kyle said he decided he had to escape after hearing Schumacher and Waiters talk about "chop[ping] me up and throw[ing] me in the delta." He got Schumacher's two-year-old son to fetch him the keys to his leg chain. Then he jumped on a trampoline until he got enough height to vault over a wall. He ran to a fitness center nearby, where he begged them to let him hide.
Surveillance footage shows him stumbling into the gym wearing only shorts, covered with dirt, the chain still trailing from his ankle. A worker at the fitness center said, "'He quickly came up and said 'Please help me, they're coming for me, help me. Can I hide behind here?'' said the health club worker.
Another witness said, "At that time we just thought that he was lost and dirty. He had to pick up the chain on his foot. Then we realized this was more than just a lost child."
At the trial at San Joaquin County Superior Court, Sydney Perry, another of Kyle's aunts, made a statement to the judge in which she slammed the defendants. "My family waited two years for this day to face you sadistic, demented monsters who tortured and abused Kyle every day. Every day," she said. "And where you're going, you're going to be with monsters just like you."
She told Caren Ramirez, "You're an evil and despicable woman. You're trash and you should've been taken out a long time ago. Today is your day to be taken out."
Kyle Ramirez, who was in the courtroom, didn't speak. Judge Terrence Van Oss jailed Ramirez for 34 years, Lau for 33 years and Schumacher for 30 years.