CA Lesbian Couple Charged with Starving Kids
A female Salinas couple is facing charges that they starved and neglected their three children, including allegedly chaining one to a wall.
Eraca Dawn Craig, 31, and Christian Jessica Deanda, 44, are each in Monterey County jail on $500,000 bail.
Monterey County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the couple’s home in the first block of Russell Road March 14 for a welfare check after the children - an 8-year-old girl, and two boys, ages 5 and 3 - didn’t arrive at an appointment, according to information provided by Sergeant Keith Wingo.
"There was very little food in the house, and the house was cluttered and dirty," a news release from the sheriff’s office said. The children were "malnourished," and showed "signs of physical and emotional abuse." The release also said their injuries included "bruises and miscellaneous marks."
"The children were starved and one of them had been chained to the floor to keep her from obtaining food," the sheriff’s office reported. Wingo said he’d received information that indicated the oldest child had been "especially" malnourished.
According to details attached to a search warrant and posted on KSBW Channel 8’s website, the girl, whose name hasn’t been disclosed, said she’d been "chained to a wall with a collar around her neck." She weighed 40 pounds, her hair had been "shaved off" and she hadn’t been allowed to eat except for oatmeal, the records say.
"Jane Doe stated that she was hit with a black belt and was forced to be chained up all day, every day," according to the documents. The girl "admitted she had bit herself because she was so hungry she thought it might make her feel better ... . [She] stated that she was forced to lay on the floor while her brothers urinated on her because she had an accident."
One child was hospitalized and the state Child Protective Services department took the other two into protective custody. They’re now in foster care, according to an attorney in the case.
The Monterey County district attorney has charged Craig and Deanda with felony child abuse and false imprisonment by violence against the girl, according to the amended criminal complaint. The women also face a misdemeanor count for each boy of cruelty to a child by inflicting injury.
Salinas is about two hours south of San Francisco.
’A Very Nice, Quiet Young Lady’
Attorney Susan Chapman, who’s representing Craig, said in an interview last week that her client is "a very nice, quiet young lady who is distraught and concerned for the welfare of the children."
Craig is "grateful" the children are getting "medical and psychological treatment for any problems they have," said Chapman.