'Please Hide Me': Witness Recalls Terrified Teen Captive's Pleas After Escape

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," December 2, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: You will not believe this. This happened and our country, in California, a 17-year-old boy apparently has been held against his will for a year and brutally tortured. The teen, found fleeing from his alleged captors with a shackle still around one ankle, desperately looking for help, ran to a gym. Police have made two arrests in the case but are hunting right now for a third suspect.

We have a live report on that in moments, but right now, Lea Leonardo, assistant general manager of In-Shape Sports Club, joins us. Lea was there when the boy came into the club, looking for help. Lea, tell me, about what time did this boy come into the club? And tell me what you saw.

LEA LEONARDO, CALLED 911 TO HELP TORTURED TEEN: Hi, Greta. It was 3:31 in the afternoon yesterday, a young boy came in, frantically asking for me to hide him. He said, "Please hide me, hide me, they're coming to get me." And it took me and everyone else there a few seconds to realize this was not a prank. He came around the corner, and I told him to go ahead and hide, and he quickly got down, you know, into a hole. If he could have crawled into a hole, he would have.

He asked us not to leave him. He kept saying, "Don't let them take me. Don't let them take me. Hide me." I called 911 immediately. They responded fairly quickly. We asked the boy if he knew who did this to him, and he said no. He told me he was from a group home in Sacramento, where he ran away to be with his family, and these people picked him up. He thought he was 16. I don't think he realized he missed a birthday September 15, when we asked him.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did he look like? I mean, what was his condition?

LEONARDO: God, he looked dark-complexioned at first, but it was -- we realized it wasn't dirt, it was, like, soot all over him. And you could tell he had wiped his cheekbones away -- you know, the dirt away from his cheekbones. So he was fairly light-complected, blue eyes, scared -- terrified. He was terrified. He just wanted to hide, and he wanted us to call the cops and make sure those people were not going to come get him.

He had a chain around his right foot. It was a very large, thick chain, probably about three feet total. It was chained around his ankle and then a padlock, and he was holding it, limping, running in. Obviously, he was very hurt. He had blood gouges on his arm, on his head, on his back, very dirty from the waist up. He was wearing nothing but only men's large boxer briefs, the loose fit. He had -- his feet were swollen. He was just terrified. And he was very dirty.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did he give any explanation -- I realize that you summoned the police right away, but did he give any explanation as to why he thought that he was being held?

LEONARDO: He did not. I asked him a few questions, and I didn't want -- I wanted him to feel as safe as possible, so we did not go in and ask him too many other questions. We let him know that everything was going to be OK, that we've called the cops. 911 stayed on the phone with me until he got -- until they got there, the ambulance and the cops. And he just said -- all he told me is he was from a group home, and he did not tell me anything about what happened while he was there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know where he was staying or where he was being held captive in relation to your gym?

LEONARDO: We do. There are some houses that back up against our tennis court and our parking lot, and he was -- his back yard right -- backed up right to our parking lot. And that's where he was able to somehow jump over that fence. A member witnessed him falling and picking himself back up, grabbing his chain and limping into the gym, running -- trying to run away.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know anybody who lives in that house or ever see anybody go in and out of that house?

LEONARDO: Truthfully, I ride my bike to work, and I have seen them outside smoking and I've seen their little kids. I don't really know them. They live, you know, right by our gym, but I don't really know who they are.

Watch Greta's interview

VAN SUSTEREN: Any sort of description of the home? Is it a nice home, a home in great repair? Does it look like, you know, the people -- people who have jobs and can keep the house up? What kind of neighborhood?

LEONARDO: It's a nice neighborhood. Tennis Lane is a nice neighborhood in Tracy. It backs up right to In-Shape Sports Club, where we, you know, have a great facility there. The house looks like it needed some work. It probably wasn't taken care of. I don't know if it was a rental or not, but it needed some work.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, you mentioned Tracy. Just to sort of put it in perspective, where is Tracy in relation to San Francisco?

LEONARDO: It's about an hour east of San Francisco, right off (ph) Livermore.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So you summon the police. The police arrive. They interview you and they take him away. And there was an arrest that was made. Did you see the arrest go down?

LEONARDO: I did -- I didn't see it go down. I did see on the news today the picture of the family, or the mom and the dad. And then I -- it wasn't his mom and dad, obviously, but I did see that.

VAN SUSTEREN: And did he say -- did the young man that -- how old did he look, by the way, when he first came into the gym?

LEONARDO: Good question. That was horrible, too. He looked about 12 years old, 13 maybe. And I -- he told me he was 16, and then we realized he's actually 17.

VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, then you summoned the police and the police took over from there. Lea, thank you very much for joining us.

LEONARDO: No problem. I will tell you really quick...


LEONARDO: ... That I can try to explain what he looked like at the best, but he -- there's no explanation for what he looked like. It was a horrible scene. It was -- it was sad.

VAN SUSTEREN: It sounds terrible. Thank you, Lea.

Now, as Lea just noted, police have made two arrests in this case, and a third suspect remains on the loose.


POLICE SPOKESMAN: Right now, Tracy police are looking for a third suspect by the name of Caren Ramirez, 43 years old, 5 feet tall, 100 pounds. She has short brown hair, brown eyes, often seen with a bandanna around her forehead. She was possibly en route to East Palo Alto via the BART and possibly staying with her brothers. She has a preexisting felony warrant out on her right now, and she also faces the same charges as Michael and Kelly, the same five charges.

One thing we are trying to figure out is whether or not Caren is the aunt of the victim. That is still something we're piecing together. She may, she may not be. But we also want to know whether or not anybody in the public may have seen this woman. If you -- if you have seen this woman, please contact local authorities. We want to get her in custody as soon as possible. She will be charged with the same five counts as the Schumachers.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) like, what was her role?

SPOKESMAN: Well, her role in this -- we really don't want to talk about what their role is yet because this is an ongoing investigation. And she's still on the loose, and we really need to just make that we get her in custody first.


VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us with the very latest is San Francisco Chronicle reporter Henry Lee. Nice to see you, Henry.


VAN SUSTEREN: Henry, first of all, are there any more people -- any more young people being held in this house?

LEE: Well, the couple, Michael Schumacher and his wife, Kelly Lau, they have three children between them, as well as a fourth child who has a different father than Mr. Schumacher. All four children have been taken away from the home by Child Protective Services. Certainly, it might be very delicate to interview them, but there's no evidence right now, Greta, that any of those children were abused or neglected. They are in age from 1 to 9, two girls and two boys.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, we just heard the police say that they are looking for a Caren Ramirez, a 43-year-old who has a felony warrant out, that may have some relationship to the young man who went into the gym. Has it been established yet whether or not she is a relative of the 17-year-old who had the shackle on his leg?

LEE: Not yet. They're trying to -- the police are trying to determine the exact relationship between Ms. Ramirez and the boy. Also, the police have told me that there's no legal relationship between the Schumachers and the 17-year-old boy. So exactly how this boy got to be in the home is also under investigation.

What we do know now is that both the husband and wife are in jail in lieu of $1.1 million bail each. Each are facing a potential torture charge. Formal charges might not be filed until Thursday, but the torture charge, if there's a conviction, could potentially lead up to a life sentence, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Henry, you know, I don't know if you've been watching the show lately, but we've been talking about human trafficking on this show, and it happens inside countries, across borders. I mean, when you hear a story like this, a teen being shackled -- I mean, is there any information as to what would possess -- assuming that this happened as it's been laid out so far -- what's the motive? What in the world was going on in this house?

LEE: Well, I've seen, unfortunately, other cases such as this. I mean, when I grew up in Orange County, California, in the city of Irvine, I was stunned only recent to learn that there had been a similar case in Irvine, where we had an Egyptian girl, victim of human trafficking, forced to do chores against her will.

Here in Tracy, in San Joaquin County, we had neighbors telling me today that they did see the boy outside from time to time initially, taking out the garbage, doing chores, bringing groceries in. There well might some defense attorneys who want to say that, Well, this is a very problematic child with behavioral issues and could not be controlled, but certainly, everyone would be in agreement that this is no excuse to treat a little boy, a teenage boy, in such a fashion.

And motives might vary, but in fact, we have some cases of children who are, of course, sometimes brought into the country illegally and then being forced to work against their will and threatened with bad things happening to them if they tell anyone.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, this is a developing story, but shackling a teenager and the condition described is nothing short of horrendous. We'll have to get more information, though. Henry, thank you. Always nice to see you.

LEE: Good seeing you, Greta.

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