Two Salinas women arrested in severe child neglect case

Date: 2014-03-21

SALINAS, Calif. —One of the worst cases he's encountered in more than 30 years of law enforcement. That's how Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller described a case of child abuse and neglect in Salinas on Friday.

An 8-year-old-girl and two boys, ages 5 and 3, were removed from a house on Russell Road by deputies. Miller said the house's conditions were deplorable and the children were so malnourished, "They looked like they had come out of a concentration camp."

"One of them had been chained to the floor to keep her from obtaining food," Deputy E. Schumacher said.

Miller said the girl may have been shackled at the neck and feet.

Eraca Dawn Craig, 31, and Christian Jessica Deanda, 44, were arrested on child abuse charges March 15.

Miller said the two women are domestic partners. One of the two arrested women was the 3-year-old boy's biological mother. The girl and 8-year-old boy were adopted.

The girl was hospitalized for a week. All three kids exhibited signs of physical and emotional abuse, and officials put them in foster care.

Deanda and Craig pleaded not guilty in Monterey County criminal court and were scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 28.

Authorities said the women seemed to be making preparations to leave the Central Coast and move to a different part of California before they were arrested.


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