SAN FRANCISCO - Police are questioning a couple after a bruised and half-naked 17-year-old boy showed up at a gym with a chain locked to his ankle, claiming he had just fled his captors, authorities said.
Matt Robinson, a spokesman for Tracy police, said authorities believe the teen was held against his will in Tracy - a city about 100 kilometres east of San Francisco - after he ran away from a Sacramento foster home in 2007.
Robinson said authorities are questioning a couple in their 30s, but that they have not been arrested or charged.
He said the emaciated boy was confused when first approached by detectives Monday, unsure where he had come from and how long had been held against his will. He has been taken to a hospital.
"The wounds he had and his physical condition as well as having a chain around his leg corroborated his basic statement that he was being held against his will," Robinson said.
Chuck Ellis, a manager of the In-Shape Sports Club, said the boy came into the fitness centre Monday afternoon wearing only boxer briefs, covered with what appeared to be soot.
Ellis says the teen was scared someone was going to come after him and asked to be hidden.
"He said, 'Don't let them get me, don't let them get me,"' Ellis said. "He was totally terrified."
Ellis said the teenager 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.
Robinson said the couple being questioned lives close to the fitness centre. He said police are still investigating how the boy may have ended up in the couple's custody.
Robinson said detectives plan to interview the boy more Tuesday when he is a "little healthier."
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