A woman in California was arrested on torture and abuse charges after a welfare check led officials to the horrifying discovery of a 9-year-old girl who had been starved and severely injured. Authorities also discovered the bodies of two children in a storage locker in the city of Redding.
Tami Joy Huntsman, 39, and her boyfriend Gonzalo Curiel, 17, were arrested on Dec. 11 after the injured girl was discovered in a locked vehicle in Quincy, California, Plumas County News reports. Police were led to a residence in Quincy, where Huntsman and Curiel were reportedly staying with a friend, during a child-welfare check.
Plumas County investigators discovered 12-year-old twins -- a boy and a girl -- at the residence, who are reported to be Huntsman's biological children. They were immediately placed in foster care.
Sheriff Greg Hagwood detailed the grisly, heartbreaking discovery of the 9-year-old girl in a locked Toyota. The girl reportedly weighed 40 pounds, had broken fingers, shoulder bones and a dislocated jaw, as well as open sores and lice.
Hagwood said that he, as well as everyone else who treated the girl, were deeply affected emotionally by what had happened to her.
"This has shaken my staff to the core," he said, according to Plumas County News. "That little girl had been subjected to the most unspeakable measure of torture for an extended period of time. This is child abuse, the likes of which we haven't experienced here [in Plumas County]."
The girl underwent surgery on Dec. 13 for five hours, Plumas County News reports. Her current condition is not known, but she is reportedly fighting for her life.
During questioning, Curiel pointed investigators to the Redding storage unit, which Huntsman had rented on Dec. 4. The bodies of two young children were discovered in plastic containers inside the unit. Curiel said the children were aged 3 and 6, reports Plumas County News. KSBW reported the ages as 3 and 5 after initial police investigations.
The two deceased children and the severely abused 9-year-old girl were siblings, according to KSBW. Huntsman was reportedly distantly related to them but served as their guardian.
Plumas County News, however, reports that the 9-year-old is Huntsman's niece, and she was placed in Huntsman's care in 2013 after her mother committed suicide.
Huntsman and Curiel are being held in Plumas County Jail on a $1 million bail and are likely to face murder charges in addition to current charges of torture, child abuse and mayhem. Although he is 17, Curiel was charged as an adult.
The investigation into the two children's deaths is ongoing, and autopsies are pending.