A teen boy ran into a northern California health club, pleading for help and wearing nothing but a pair of filthy boxers briefs and a chain locked to his ankle. He was emaciated and covered in abuse wounds along with what appeared to be soot, after escaping more than a year of torture that went unnoticed for too long by people who had one job to do… protect children.
The 17-year-old, only identified as Kyle to protect his identity, had lived through complete hell from the time he was a child. He was placed into foster care with the hope of finally being with a family who would care for him, love him, and give him some semblance of safety that the parents he was born to could not. Unfortunately, the foster family he was placed with was likely not screened properly, or Child Protective Service was short on supply and just accepted any home with “parents” who had a pulse. Instead, the four adult participants in his abuse took pleasure in torturing the boy to the furthest extent of even the most maniacal imagination.
After over a year of being starved, beaten, burned, and literally locked up with braces and chains around his limbs inside the home’s fireplace, Kyle looked to not be beyond the age of 10-12-years-old. Miraculously, he managed to escape his foster home and ran on foot to the first place that had anyone who could help him, which was the In-Shape Sports Club.
It was back in 2008 when he made his getaway, and the haunting surveillance footage from the gym gives a glimpse of what this poor child endured, all while Child Protective Services was supposed to be monitoring his situation but didn’t. All four captors, including his foster parents, Michael Schumacher and Kelly Layne Lau, were sentenced to 30 years in prison for a number of offenses — including child abuse, false imprisonment, and torture using a bat, knife, and belt, 9 News reported.
Seven years after his great escape, Kyle is finally getting the justice he deserves, after a long road of healing from circumstances he should have never endured. The teen who is now in his 20’s sued Sacramento County Child Protective Services, who just reached a settlement with Kyle for approximately $4 million dollars for their failure to protect him when it was their job to do so.
Although CPS acknowledges that he’s deserved that sum, they were quick to cover themselves in their statement following the settlement, saying in part that it’s “not an admission of liability but reflects an evaluation of the potential cost of lengthy litigation and our hope that this settlement will enable this.” The organization insisted that since their gross negligence in Kyle’s case, many “policy and practice changes” have been implemented.
However, their failed track record across the country tells a different reality than what they would like others to believe. Basically, they are hoping that none of their other past, present, and future victims of the system sue them as well.
Kyle endured many months of torture that shouldn’t have gone unnoticed for even a single day, let alone more than a year. He was under the supervision of a defunct system that routinely proves that pushing papers, closing files, and protecting degenerates takes precedence over ensuring children are safe in their environment. Kyle’s suit was not to take advantage of his situation, it was deserved retribution for being placed where no child should have ever been put.