Salinas women sentenced in torture, child abuse case
Two Salinas women convicted of torturing and abusing their three children have been sentenced to prison terms, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.
Christian Deanda was sentenced to life in prison for committing torture (the maximum sentence), plus 13 years, 4 months consecutive in state prison for the remaining counts of child abuse, false imprisonment and child endangerment. Eraca Craig was also sentenced to a maximum sentence of 11 years in state prison for committing child abuse with great bodily injury, false imprisonment and child endangerment.
On March 14, 2014, a Monterey County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to Russell Road in the outskirts of Salinas to check on the well-being of an 8-year-old girl. When the girl, known as Jane Doe in court proceedings, came to the door, the deputy noticed she was very thin and had goose bumps, even though it was a hot and sunny day, prosecutors said. Paramedics arrived to evaluate Jane Doe and told the deputy the girl was malnourished and needed to see a doctor. Once at Natividad Medical Center, doctors evaluated the girl and determined she was malnourished and potentially abused, prosecutors said. The doctors also noted the girl had bruising and marks up and down her body, including bite marks on her arm. Jane Doe told authorities Deanda and Craig would chain her ankle to the wall and force her to sleep chained by the front door, prosecutors said. She also described an incident where Deanda told the girls two younger brothers, known in court as John Does 1 and 2, to urinate on her. The girl also said Deanda beat her with a belt, hosed her down with cold water and forced her head under an open faucet. The two boys supported Jane Doe’s statements, stating that they were forced to urinate on Jane Doe and belt her at the command of Deanda, prosecutors said. Both boys also stated that they saw Deanda and Craig chain Jane Doe up at the front of the house. During a search of the defendants’ home, photos and videos were found of Jane Doe with visible injuries,prosecutors said.
The girl and one boy were adopted by Deanda and Craig. The younger boy is the biological child of Craig. Deanda’s defense attorney, Jeremy Dzubay, contended the girl was extremely troubled, and the women were seeking professional help on her behalf at the time they were arrested. At the time of the verdict, the foster parents of the girl and older boy said they planned to adopt them and that the children were flourishing in their new home. Craig’s child was in a different foster home.
Jury trial started on April 27. The three children all testified at trial about the abuse they suffered at the hands of the women. All three described Jane Doe being chained up daily in the living room. Dr. Rolando Cantos and Dr. John Stirling testified as experts that the girl was severely malnourished when deputies brought her to Natividad Medical Center. The doctors described Jane Doe as “skin and bones” and appearing “cachexic”, which they defined as visibly wasting away. While waiting at the emergency room, a former Child Protective Service worker was unable to recognize Jane Doe despite previous contacts with the family, prosecutors said. Deanda and Craig were found guilty by the jury May 15.
The case was investigated by District Attorney Investigator Jackie Meroney and Monterey County Sheriff’s Office.