It's "a particularly heinous case," says the sheriff in California's Monterey County. Police rescued three young children who showed signs of starvation and abuse from their home in Salinas, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Their mothers, who lived together as domestic partners, are in custody. The oldest child, an 8-year-old girl, had been chained at times to keep her from getting food, and she looked like a "concentration camp victim," says Sheriff Scott Miller. The girl was hospitalized for four days and is now recuperating in a foster home.
The other two children are boys ages 3 and 5, and they, too, were malnourished, bruised, and showed signs of emotional abuse, reports AP. But the girl apparently bore the brunt of the abuse, with investigators saying she was shackled at the ankle or by a collar at times, and may have been held in a closet. Eraca Craig, 31, and Christian Deanda, 44, are accused of felony child cruelty, false imprisonment, and other charges, reports the Monterey Herald. They home-schooled the kids and were scheduled to be married next week. (Read more child abuse stories.)