Victim's brother describes how he was saved

December 9, 2008 12:02:37 AM PST
The third suspect accused of torturing a teenager in Tracy for more than a year, made her first court appearance today. Caren Ramirez is accused of doing unthinkable things to a 16-year-old boy in her care. Many wonder how this all came to be.

43-year-old Caren Ramirez was charged with torturing and starving a 16-year-old boy under her care, while living with Michael Schumacher and his wife, Kelly Lau, at the couple's Tracy home.

"I blame her because of what she did to our relationship," said Austin, the victim's brother.

Seven years ago the victim's older brother, Austin, says Ramirez -- a friend of their single, drug-addicted mother -- took them away. Austin is not sure how Ramirez gained custody of them, but says the beatings began when they failed to win their Tae Kwon Do matches. Austin says Ramirez sometimes forced the boys to hit each other.

"There was a time when he'd come up and hit me because she would tell him to, and if he didn't, he'd get hit. And I don't blame him for any of that," said Austin.

They moved to the Marconi Palms Apartments east of Sacramento, during which time Austin says he was coached to act mentally disabled so Ramirez could receive more money in her foster care payments.

Caren Ramirez met fellow tenant Denise Watson in the laundry room. Watson had a son the same age as Austin.

"Denies Watson is the lady who saved my life," said Austin.

Watson immediately recognized the signs of abuse. After getting the boys to admit it, she called Child Protective Services.

"They would not take me into a separate room, She [Ramirez] would not let them. That is exactly why I couldn't say anything. She would not leave the room," said Austin.

Watson says she called CPS again, with no results. And then in 2006, after the boys were severely beaten she called the police on Ramirez.

"And the police went to the door. Austin answered and told them everything was okay. They said I was wrong and I said, 'No. Go back and talk to those boys away from her,'" said Watson.

Court documents show Austin was placed in child protective custody. He says his brother told police he was okay and was left with Ramirez. Within hours they disappeared.

"I keep going over and over in my head what we could have done different," said Watson.


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