DECEMBER 1: Teen escapes captivity

ON THIS DATE in 2008, sixteen-year-old Kyle Ramirez escaped from a Tracy, California, home where he had been shackled and tortured for more than a year.

Kyle Ramirez

Kyle Ramirez

Ramirez had been held captive by three adults and continually tortured by a thirty-one-year-old neighbor who cut him with a knife, lit his pants on fire, and beat him unconscious with a boxing glove. They “would just hit me. My back, my head. Basically everywhere,” Ramirez testified in court.

Ramirez said the neighbor, Anthony Waiters, once cut his arm and poured bleach on the wound while others held him down.

Ramirez escaped by jumping on a backyard trampoline, hopping over an eight-foot retaining wall, and entering a nearby health club with shackles on his right ankle. He was wearing only boxers and covered in soot, sores, and scars.

“Hide me, please hide me,” he told the fitness center employees. “They’re coming for me.”

Three of Ramirez’s captors pled guilty to more than a dozen felonies and were all sentenced to at least 30 years. They included Caren Ramirez, forty-five, the boy’s legal guardian. Waiters was convicted of torture, kidnapping, child abuse and false imprisonment and ordered to serve three life sentences.

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