The story gets more disturbing at every turn. On Wednesday night, ABC7's Alan Wang got an exclusive jailhouse interview with Kelly Lau, one of the women accused in taking part in kidnapping and torture of a teenager.
Lau is being held in a maximum security portion of the San Joaquin County Jail. Wang says they were separated by a glass window and for 45 minutes she answered all of his questions.
Lau said the boy was, often times, chained to the coffee table while the family carried on with their daily lives. Then there were times he walked around freely.
Lau said they met Caren Ramirez through a mutual friend. They invited her and the boy, who they believed was her son, to live with them. She says Ramirez instructed them to discipline the boy the same way she did. Lau admits she hit the boy in the stomach and arm, and used an aluminum bat to hit him in the knee at least five times. She says her husband Mike hit him less than she did. Toward the end of the summer, Lau says the beatings were daily.
Wang asked Lau what Ramirez did and she said: "She burned him with a bat. She stuck it in the fireplace and pressed it against him ... I knew it was wrong in the back of my head."
But she did it because she was afraid Ramirez would hurt her children. Lau says only Ramirez could feed the teenage boy. She, her husband, her four children and Ramirez, would eat at the table while the boy watched in the living room.
She says he got a shower once a week or every other week. Lau said Ramirez, "Made him take it outside in the backyard with a hose. Then she took a pitcher of hot water and threw it on him."
On Monday, Lau says she was watching TV with her kids, Ramirez was upstairs, and that's when the boy bolted out the door and hopped over the wall. She said Ramirez told her to drop her off at the 99 Cent Store. She said that's the last time she saw her and 20 minutes later the police arrived.
Lau said, "I'm glad he escaped and I hope he's okay. I never wanted any of this to happen."
Lau said Ramirez and the boy were only supposed to stay temporarily at their house until Thanksgiving of last year, but they never left. Lau and her husband tried to ask them to leave, but they never did.
The couple will be arraigned Thursday afternoon at the San Joaquin courthouse in Stockton. Caren Ramirez may appear in court as well.
Wang said Lau's demeanor was very naive to the depth and seriousness of this case. She kept asking Wang if and she could go home and see her children. She also asked how bad this case was and what it was like. Lau has been in jail this whole time and has not spoken to anyone or have a lawyer at this time.
ABC7 News has also attempted to contact Caren Ramirez and Michael Schumacher, but they have refused all media requests.
Earlier on Wednesday...
Caren Ramirez's arrest is the break detectives were hoping for.
"Now that they have Ramirez, they can find out what she knew, and then we can eventually piece it all together and find out, at least at clearer story about what happened to this kid," Tracy police spokesperson Matt Robinson said.
Ramirez, 43, was arrested Tuesday night at an apartment on the 2600 block of College Avenue in Berkeley. Police say she is possibly the aunt of the teenager who escaped Monday afternoon, bruised and battered, wearing only boxer shorts, a chain still wrapped around his leg.
The Tuesday arrest of Ramirez follows that of Michael Schumacher and Kelly Lau. Now all three will be charged with multiple felonies, including torture, kidnapping, false imprisonment and aggravated child abuse. Police say more charges could be added.
"Early indications are that he entered the system due to abuse, and that this isn't the first case, and that some of the people involved may have been involved in prior abuses as well," Tracy Police Chief Rick Golphin said.
Police also have a better understanding of how the boy escaped to a nearby health club, where he walked in filthy, emaciated and confused. They say the boy had been held in the garage of the home, but Monday was taken for a ride in a SUV by one of the suspects. When the boy was taken back to the home, he managed to escape through a window and climb over an eight foot wall into the health club's parking lot.
"It was basically luck that this all occurred finally after all this time; the teenager got a break and he took it," Robinson said.
The boy was released form the hospital Wednesday and is in the custody of Sacramento Child Protective Services.