A Sacramento judge gave a nonprofit law firm the go-ahead to start a trust fund for a teenager who in December escaped from a central Tracy home where he said he had been held prisoner for more than a year.
Donors from around the world have helped raise $34,000 for the boy, identified in court records as Kyle R., who last month made headlines when he appeared bloodied, emaciated and shackled at In-Shape Health Club on Tracy Boulevard begging for help.
Sacramento County took protective custody of the 16-year-old boy, who has been a ward of the state since his mother died several years ago. His former legal guardian is one of his four alleged captors, who police say drugged him, beat him and chained him to a fireplace for as many as 18 months.
The teen is now one of 5,000 children in the care of Child Protective Services in Sacramento County.
West High School students pitched in $2,000 for the boy last month and collected clothing and other gifts for detectives to give him for Christmas.
Officer Irene Rose of the Tracy Police Department said she received 300 phone calls from people wondering how they could help the boy. Many of them wound up donating to the fund set up in his honor, the Tracy Youth Fund through Sacramento Child Advocates Inc.
The boy's former guardian, Carén Ramirez, 43; renters of the Tennis Lane home, husband and wife Michael Schumacher, 34, and Kelly Lau, 30; and their next-door neighbor Anthony Waiters, 29, were charged after the escape with a litany of felonies, including torture, imprisonment, inflicting permanent bodily injury and child abuse.
Each could face life in prison if convicted. None have entered pleas after four hearings, and all four are due back in court Feb. 2 for further arraignment.
Cash donations can be sent to the Tracy Youth Fund through the Sacramento nonprofit that set it up. Send checks to SCA FBO Tracy Youth Fund, 8745 Folsom Blvd., Ste. 150, Sacramento 95286. For information, go to www.sacchildadv.org.
The health club where the boy escaped to that Dec. 1 afternoon has established a fund as well. Donations to that charity can be sent to In-Shape City Health Club, 101 S. Tracy Blvd., Tracy 95376.