A couple accused of beating and torturing a teenager, who authorities say was sometimes kept shackled inside their home, appeared in shackles themselves to face more than a dozen kidnapping and child abuse charges.
It was Michael Schumacher and Kelly Layne Lau's first court appearance since their arrest following the boy's escape in nothing more than boxer shorts and a chain around his ankle. The teen was in search of help after allegedly spending more than a year in captivity.
The boy's one-time guardian, Caren Ramirez, also was charged with similar allegations Thursday. She remained under psychiatric evaluation awaiting her court appearance, expected as early as Monday.
Schumacher and Lau were charged with 13 felony counts, and Ramirez, whom the boy called an aunt, was charged with 10 counts. Among the charges are corporal injury to a child, child abuse and aggravated mayhem, which the San Joaquin County District Attorney's office said could yield life sentences.
Superior Court Judge Franklin Stephenson ordered Schumacher and Lau to be held in lieu of $2.2 million bail. They did not enter pleas.
The abuse at the couple's home in Tracy, about 60 miles east of San Francisco, started in July 2007, prosecutors said. The boy escaped from the home on Monday and fled to a nearby fitness center. He appeared emaciated and was covered in soot.