Authorities in California sentenced a woman and her mother to two years in prison each for starving and physically mistreating the younger woman's 3-year-old twin boys.
Courtney Lynn Stewart, 26, and her 47-year-old mother, Tammy Lynn Gay, confessed to committing child abuse in February, more than two years after Stewart's arrest, Murrieta Patch reports.
As a result of their admission, authorities dropped a second child abuse charge, reducing their sentences.
In November 2014, Stewart took one of her children to the hospital where, upon seeing the boy's condition, concerned staff contacted authorities.
"The hospital staff noted several suspicious bruises on the child as well as a severe case of malnutrition," said Murrieta Police Sgt. Phil Gomez at the time. He said the boy only weighed 15 pounds.
After an investigation, police found the boy's twin had a broken jaw and was "suffering from the same malnutrition."
It was eventually revealed Stewart and Gay had been abusing the boys since December 2012.
The news came as a shock to neighbors, some of whom did not even know Stewart had children.
"They live across the street from me," one neighbor commented on wrote one person on Murrieta Patch's Facebook page. "We didn't even know they had kids. First time I saw them was being put in an Ambulance. It was heartbreaking."
"We live next door," added another. "We had no idea they had babies either. So sad."
Stewart and Gay will now serve 20 months in a state prison before qualifying for parole.
The sentence did not specify whether the mother and grandmother will be allowed to see the twins again.
Many on social media believe the two did not receive harsh enough punishments.
"They dropped a second count just to get the conviction?" asked one Murrieta Patch reader. "These cases should never be bartered and they should throw the kitchen sink at both of them."
"Two years is a slap on the wrist and neither will even serve the full 2 years," wrote one person on Murrieta Patch's Facebook page. "That's crazy & all kinds of wrong. I hope her parental rights (and grandparent rights) have been terminated & she's been sterilized so she can't do this to any more children."
"If any judge let's those two out of prison and doesn't terminate parental rights, the whole judicial system has failed these boys," wrote a third. "I hope they get. What's coming to them....karma is a b***. California needs to endorse the death penalty and castration for child abusers of ANY kind.......So sad"