Two women from Monterey County, Calif. were arrested last week and charged on March 20 after Monterey County Sheriff’s Deputies discovered three young and severely neglected children in their home - one of them regularly chained to a wall - that were described as skeletal thin, emaciated, bruised and malnourished.
On March 21, police announced the arrests of Eraca Dawn Craig, 31, and her domestic partner, Christian Jessica Deanda, 44, on charges of child abuse, neglect and false imprisonment, according to USA Today.
The three children, two boys, ages three and five, and an eight-year-old girl, were all malnourished, although the main abuse seems to have been focused on the little girl, according to police.
Regarding the scene deputies discovered inside the home, Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller said that it was “one of those cases that sticks with you for some time."
"When you've got over 30 years in the business, you've seen way too many of these types of things before," he said.
"But this is, in terms of child abuse and neglect, this is toward the top."
Reuters reported that police initially discovered the gruesome scene when they went to the women’s home in Salinas on March 14, after it was reported that the two young boys had both missed medical appointments.
After speaking with the children's two mothers, officers found the children with "obvious bruising and discoloration consistent with malnourishment, and signs of mistreatment," said John Thornburg, a Monterey County sheriff's office spokesman.
Because two of the kids were home-schooled by the couple, they weren’t missed at school.
Police described the conditions inside the home as “squalid, cluttered and dirty.”
"There was very little food in the residence. There's also concern the little girl — the 8-year-old — was from time to time chained to the wall of the residence and was denied food," Miller said.
At the ends of those two heavy chains hanging from the wall, “investigators found a collar they said was wrapped around the girl's neck or leg to keep her from seeking out food.”
Miller described the little girl as “extremely emaciated," and was described as someone who looked as if she had been held captive in a concentration camp.
The three-year-old boy was the only child biologically related to one of the women. The two older children were adopted.
The little girl had to be hospitalized for four days. All three children are now in foster homes.
Police are not certain how long the neglect and abuse had been going on inside the couple’s home.
"The fact that it appears she was actually chained to the wall to keep her from eating, those are the kinds of facts that tear at you," he said. "
That's the kind of thing that differentiates this from most other types of abuse cases."
Both women were remanded to Monterey County Jail and are being held on $50,000 bail each. Their preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 28.
The Monterey Herald reported that the couple was scheduled to be married on March 29.
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