Police were led to a storage unit where two children were found dead, which has turned into a case so disturbing that even the veteran investigators found it hard to fathom. Delylah Tara, 3, and Shaun Tara, 6, who were in the custody of a couple in Quincy, were found dead in the Redding, California storage unit. The couple had three other children in their care besides the two children who were found dead.
The couple, Tami Joy Huntsman, 39, and Gonzalo Curiel, 17, had Huntsman’s 9-year-old niece along with her own 12-year-old twins also living with them. This case started with an anonymous call at 3 p.m. on Friday reporting a child in possible danger at a Quincy home, according to CNN News on December 16.
Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood reports that when police arrived to follow-up on that anonymous call what they found at the home, “has shaken my staff to the core.” This case just gets more heart-wrenching by the minute as police found Huntsman’s 9-year-old niece on the floorboard of a locked SUV.
The child had open sores, broken bones, lice and she was missing teeth. The girl had been starved and weighed only 40-pounds. Hagwood said, “That little girl had been subjected to the most unspeakable measure of torture for an extended period of time. This is child abuse, the likes of which we haven’t experienced here (in Plumas County).”
The child was transported to the hospital where she remains in protective custody and Huntsman’s 12-year-old twins were also placed in protective custody. Both Huntsman and Curiel were charged with with felony child abuse, torture and mayhem in the case of the 9-year-old child. Each are held on $1-million bail.
At this point on Friday, police did not know that the couple had two more children that were supposed to be in their custody. “Huntsman and Curiel moved around the past few weeks, traveling to Redding; Plumas County, in northeast California; and Monterey County on the coast,” according to the Redding police news release.
Authorities didn’t know that the couple had two more children ages 6 and 3 in their custody until they got a phone call from someone in Salinas on Sunday. This person was asking about the two children, according to the Sacramento Bee. The couple told police that the two children were missing.
Huntsman is from Salinas and she has a history of drug and child-abuse charges. Both Huntsman and her 17-year-old companion, Curiel, “face up to life in prison on torture and child-abuse charges, and are now suspects in a homicide investigation opened by detectives in Redding,” reports the Bee.
During the investigation the police learned that the couple had moved frequently and they had a storage unit in Redding. Quincy police contacted the Redding police who broke into the locked storage unit and made the grisly discovery of the two dead children. The couple’s relationship to the dead children is not clear, but Huntsman had custody of all the five children that were supposedly in her care.
The abuse that the 9-year-old girl suffered was so horrendous, that some of the officials were so shaken by what they witnessed hat Hagwood expects to grant them a leave of absence to recover. Most anyone who has come in direct contact with this case has walked away shaken.