A California couple has been arrested and charged with kidnapping and torturing a 17-year old boy who fled from their home Monday, bloodied with bruises, clad only in flesh-colored boxer shorts and shackled at the ankle.
"The staff noticed blood and bruising on his body, and he looked emaciated and had a chain locked to his ankle," said Matt Robinson, spokesman for the Tracy Police Department.
"The boy was confused and didn't know where he was or how long he had been held against his will," he told ABCNews.com.
The boy, covered in soot, urine and feces, arrived at the In-Shape City Sports Club around 4 p.m. Monday begging an employee to hide him, according to Robinson.
"I thought it was a prank costume," assistant manager Lea Leonardo told the Tri-Valley Herald. "He was so dirty and had the chain around his foot. His feet were swollen, he was terrified and cold. He kept saying, 'They're going to come find me.' He kept saying that over and over."
Arrested were Kelly Lau Schumacher, 30, and her husband, Michael Schumacher, 34, who lived only blocks from the fitness center. Police are also looking for a third suspect, Karen Ramirez, 43, who has a felony record and may be the boy's aunt, according to police.
The couple faces five felony charges: conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, torture, kidnapping, false imprisonment by violence and child beating.
Some witnesses said the boy had jumped over a fence to get to the fitness center, according to local reports.
Employees called 911 as the boy curled into a fetal position on the floor underneath the counter. They wrapped the boy in towels and led him to the manager's office where they gave him food and water.
"He was totally terrified," Chuck Ellis, an employee at In-Shape City Sports Club, told The Associated Press.
Foster Teen Abuse
Ellis said the teenager, who looked no older than 10 or 12, told him he was picked up after running away from the foster home to look for his family and that he was held for almost a year.
Police said the boy's left ankle was padlocked with a chain and his leg appeared to be cut. He didn't know where he was but knew his name and birthday.
They took the boy to Sutter Tracy Community Hospital, where he was treated for cuts and "other injuries," some of which may have been from sexual abuse, according to police.
"We want to make sure he gets the proper medical attention necessary," said Robinson.
Hospital spokesman Karen Mudd would not provide any other details to ABCNews.com and said the boy was being held in "protective services."
After interviewing the boy, police determined he had been kept at a house "down the street" and knocked on the door of the Schumachers, interviewing the couple and arresting them. By midnight, police had obtained a search warrant for the house and pressed charges.
Police continue to interview Kelly Lau-Schumacher, while her husband is in custody at the San Joaquin County jail. The couple will appear in court Dec. 4.
Meanwhile, four children -- ages, 1, 3, 11 and 9 -- were also taken from the house, according to police.
Police said the boy had previously been reported missing from a group foster home in Sacramento since 2007, but they had no idea how long he had been there or where his family was.
An unidentified neighbor told the Tri-Valley Herald that he had seen the boy playing with other children and thought he was a family member. The neighbor said he had limited contact with the couple, who had lived in the house for about a year.
"They appeared to be a normal family," the neighbor said. "We don't even know their last name. [The boy] wouldn't be allowed to talk to us when we'd see him outside or ask him questions."
Just this week Tracy, a city of about 80,000 one hour north of San Francisco, was named by CQ Press as the second-safest city in Northern California and the 46th-safest city in the nation.
Robinson said he had never seen a case like this in Tracy. "It's really abnormal here," he said.