Disturbing details are starting to emerge following the March 14 arrest of two California women accused of starving three children and chaining one to the floor.
Authorities arrived at the Salinas, California home to investigate accusations of child neglect, and once they got there, they were horrified to discover a three-year-old boy, a five-year-old boy, and an eight-year-old girl all being starved. The young girl was shackled to keep her from eating.
"The little girl was from time-to-time chained to the walls of the house and denied food," said Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller. "She was extremely emaciated. She's been described as someone who looks like she's been living in a concentration camp." Miller added that all three children had “hardly eaten for months” and that the girl was the “major target” of the abuse.
Eraca Dawn Craig, 31, and Christian Jessica Deanda, 44, were arrested and charged with multiple counts of felony child cruelty, false imprisonment, and other related charges. The women are reportedly domestic partners, and one of them is the biological mother of the three-year-old boy. The five-year-old boy and the girl were both adopted.
Both Craig and Deanda pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, and neither reportedly have a criminal record. Authorities say the two women were attempting to leave the area right before they were arrested.
Miller says that this case is one of the worst he has ever seen.
"When you've got over 30 years in the business, you've seen way too many of these types of things before," said Miller. "But this is, in terms of child abuse and neglect, this is toward the top."
"The fact that it appears [the girl] was actually chained to the wall to keep her from eating, those are the kinds of facts that tear at you," continued Miller. "That's the kind of thing that differentiates this from most other types of abuse cases."
Craig and Deanda are both scheduled to appear in court on March 28, but in the meantime, they are being held on $50,000 bail at Monterey County Jail.