Two women starved three children. The five-year-old boy and the eight-year-old girl were legally adopted children while the three-year-old was the son of one of the two women. All three children were starved and beaten by the two women who are being described as domestic partners who were scheduled to be married, but investigators believe that the eight-year-old girl had to endure the most unimaginable torture, reported The Herald News on March 21.
“Officers said they found signs the girl had been chained to the wall and said she may have been held in a closet. Investigators believe she was shackled at times at the ankle and at other times by a collar around her neck.”
According to Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller, the three children were rescued from the most “horrific conditions,” and the emaciated eight-year-old girl looked like “a concentration camp" victim. “The rescued 8-year-old was immediately hospitalized for about five days, Miller said, and appeared to be ‘very traumatized’."
The three starving children were rescued from the two women’s residence on Russell Road north of Salinas in California on March 14, but the news of the children’s abuse and the announcement of the women’s arrest was delayed while officials were conducting an investigation and until the District Attorney's Office was able to charge the women with felony child cruelty, false imprisonment and several other charges.
On the day that the three homeschooled children were discovered, deputies conducted a welfare check at the couple’s residence because the kids hadn’t shown up “for an unspecified appointment.” Deputies described the living condition of the kids as “squalid” and in “dire straits.” All three children had bruises, were extremely malnourished, were traumatized, and the girl appeared that she had "hardly eaten for months." The house was dirty and filled with boxes indicating that the couple was getting ready to move.
The two women who starved the three children have been identified as 31-year-old Eraca Dawn Craig and 44-year-old Christian Jessica Deanda. Craig described herself as a businesswoman and counselor while Deanda is a former correctional officer. The two women were scheduled to be married on March 29, according to an online gift registry, but are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 28 instead. In regard to the children’s reaction to their rescue, Sheriff Miller said that “when children are rescued from terrifying conditions, they are not usually ‘jumping up and down in joy. They may have forgotten what joy is like’."