- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2014

Two women have been accused of starving, chaining and abusing three children in the squalid conditions of their Salinas, Calif., home.

Eraca Dawn Craig, 31, is a former correctional officer, and Christian Jessica Deanda, 44, was a counselor at clinics in California and New Mexico, according to their online professional profiles and court filings, The Monterey Herald reported.

Deputies on March 14 found two boys, ages 3 and 5, and an 8-year-old girl, who was the major target of the abuse. All of the children were malnourished and in “fairly dire straits,” said Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller.

“The little girl was from time to time chained to the walls of the house and denied food,” Mr. Miller said. “She was extremely emaciated. She’s been described as someone who looks like she’s been living in a concentration camp.”

The girl and the 5-year-old boy were legally adopted children, he said, while the 3-year-old boy is the biological son of one of the women, who are domestic partners. The women were scheduled to be married March 29, according to an online gift registry, The Herald reported.

One of the children was hospitalized and the other two were taken into protective custody by Child Protective Services, the sheriff’s office said.

Deanda and Craig are being held on felony child cruelty, false imprisonment and other charges at Monterey County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail each.

They are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 28.

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